Archives for July 2013

Harry Potter’s Birthday — and Joanne Rowling’s As Well

The Boy Who Lived turns 33 today, if you consider fictional characters as real folk, and the author of his adventures enters her 49th year. Three stray thoughts:

(1) Have any of you ever celebrated 31 July? I mean, with a party, a gathering for Joanne and Harry? If so, please do tell us what that was like. I’m assuming the principal celebrants, even a stand-in like Daniel Radcliffe, didn’t show. If you haven’t had a party like that, how would you set up the conditions for attendance at this theme party? Magical gifts? Owl messages for the birthday girl and boy?

(2) What sentiment, which is to say, what fifty-words-or-less note would you write inside Ms Rowling’s birthday car besides the one Hallmark put there? and…

(3) Pretend it’s your birthday and Ms. Rowling has said she’d answer your one question about her work as her birthday gift to you. What do you ask — and why do you ask it?

My answers, below the jump: [Read more…]

J. K. Rowling Speaks Out on the Meaning of ‘Casual Vacancy’

Mind-blowing. And wonderfully refreshing. And possibly a wrong turn?

Forgive me, but Joanne Rowling is not one to let her hair down, if you will, and talk themes and meaning and artistry straight up with her readers. In the ten year roll-out of the Hogwarts Saga and beyond we got much less in many more interviews than the author revealed in one go at GoodReads.com in answer to a question about character development in Casual Vacancy.

Read the whole thing — and then read it again.

The best part, I thought, was her description of the Good Samaritan finale when three characters walk by the little boy about to die. She says flat out that the novel “was constructed” so that when this happens the reader is struck by the three characters as allegorical transparencies for specific human failings. [Read more…]

J. K. Rowling Ghost Writes ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’

A detective story published under a pseudonym! From Hypable.com:

Harry Potter and The Casual Vacancy author J.K. Rowling has revealed that she ghost-wrote a crime novel titled The Cuckoo’s Calling.

Rowling operated under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith to publish The Cuckoo’s Calling in April of this year.

The Telegraph received confirmation from the author as well as a statement. “I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,” said Rowling. “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”

The author’s biography is as hilarious as this news that’s been kept secret from us for several months. It reads, “After several years with the Royal Military Police, Robert Galbraith was attached to the SIB (Special Investigative Branch), the plain-clothes branch of the RMP. He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry. The idea for Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who returned to the civilian world. ‘Robert Galbraith’ is a pseudonym.”

The book is available right now on Amazon and currently has a nearly 5-star rating.

Says the book’s official synopsis found on Amazon:

A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

I’ve ordered a copy and will let you know what I think as soon as I can. Please share in the comment boxes below your thoughts (a) about the book if you’ve read and (b) about this gay lark of the Presence in publishing under cover. Big news — and delightful for those of us who love JKR fiction (and who hate the run-up to hyped releases)!

Hat tip to James!