In Haven Kimmel's third book, Something Rising (Light and Swift), a harder-edged departure from her 2001 memoir, ''A Girl Named Zippy,'' Cassie Claiborne scraps her way through adolescence in a dying Indiana town. Her outlook filtered ''with the wariness of the repeatedly betrayed child,'' Cassie learns to get by with flying fists and a steely resolve. It's in the seedy netherworld of pool halls that she carves out a second home. The game, first introduced by her hustling absentee father, becomes a calculated comfort from an otherwise unpredictable land.
Subtly shifting and at times sprawling, ''Rising'' surprises with broader notions of love, faith, and hope, all written with delicate grace. While ''Rising'' doesn't achieve the heights of her exquisite 2002 novel, ''The Solace of Leaving Early,'' Kimmel again takes aspects of the everyday and renders them transcendent.