Review: The Raising
Following the car accident of Craig Clements-Rabbitt and Nicole Werner, there are conflicting stories of what happened. The media reports a fatality–a girl so damaged by the wreck that she could barely be identified. The woman who first arrived on the scene says otherwise, telling anyone who will listen that the girl was very much alive and barely injured. Unfortunately, not many will listen.
In the aftermath, Craig is ostracized as the killer of a beloved sorority girl. Yet, some students on campus begin to wonder what really happened when they start to see a girl who looks an awful lot like Nicole. The mother of a girl who went missing right around the time of Nicole’s alleged death likewise wonders what else this mystery is concealing. The sorority girls just might be hiding something other than their binge drinking. Is Nicole haunting her old stomping grounds? Or was she never really dead in the first place?
Laura Kasischke’s The Raising follows in a long tradition of gothic campus novels. I find Kasischke at her best when writing adult fiction, and like many of her works, this one was extremely dark. The structure was a bit complex, following four narrators both before and after Nicole’s death. It is a novel that was hard at times to fully lose myself in and enjoy completely, but I couldn’t stop reading until I knew what had happened. This took me until the wee hours of the night, a time when the book became much creepier and started giving me goosebumps.
Beyond the mystery and supernatural, the thing that kept me most riveted was the research behind the novel. Kasischke intersperses folklore about death, dying, and the undead via a professor who gets involved when Craig’s roommate, Perry, wants to investigate why he might be seeing Nicole. I loved the way that thanatology and folklore were so seamlessly integrated into a book that explores the death of a college student. While I lacked attachment to several of the characters, I was completely captivated by the anthropology surrounding the dead and undead.