“The Cuckoo’s Calling”


“The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

First of all let me say that when I talk about books here I am only giving my “opinion” on how the book affected me and what I got out of it. It is in no way a critique on the book’s writing style or technique.  Also, I promise not to give away any spoilers so if I’m vague about some things, that’s why.

Now, on with the show…

If someone were to tell me, “You can have lunch with any author alive today.” I would pick Ms. Rowling.  Why? The woman fascinates me. From what we know of her she seems to be a very strong individual who didn’t just make lemonade out of the lemons life gave her, she made flippin’ Limoncello! I also like that when she chose to create the Harry Potter series she used a boy as her main character.  I don’t know many female authors that would do that at first go. I would think most would try and start with a girl, because being female, it would be easier to get inside her head. (I know I did) The advantage, of course, is that it gave her the opportunity to write this book, under a male pseudonym, with the main character being a guy and the results were completely believable.

Even though her follow up to Potter, “The Casual Vacancy” didn’t do too well I never picked it up. Despite my love for Rowling, if I don’t think a book sounds interesting I’m not going to read it just because a certain author wrote it. That would be pointless because if it turns out I really don’t like it, then I may never read anything by that author again.

I think my all time favorite part of “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” is the way the city of London is portrayed as its own character. I’ve only been to London once, a long time ago, and it is the only place outside of the country I have ever been.  Even though its been awhile and I am not familiar with any of the places she referenced in the story I still felt as though I was walking the streets along with the main character as a true Londoner instead of a tourist. It was delightful, however I never realized how much people in Britain smoke.  I think almost every single character was puffing on something the entire book! (Also, here in the States, the word “cunt” is very rarely used as an insult. I think it is viewed as one of the worst, but over there, it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal.)

All in all, I really enjoyed the story from beginning to end.  I especially love how, even though the main character had solved the big mystery half way through the book, he never let on as to who he thought “did it” until the very end.  I really hope she writes more stories for this character and that they make a movie. I think Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies would be a shoe in for the role of Cormoran Strike, even if he’s a bit older.  Also, I love her creativity with names, Cormoran Strike, is perfect for a private investigator.

Finally, the weirdest aspect of reading this story for me, was also the most interesting.  It was as if my mind and Rowling’s have been following along the same wavelength lately. First, one of the main characters has bipolar disorder, and even though it is kind of the trendy topic, if you will, in stories lately, this is something that affects me personally.  Second, one of her characters’ name is Ciara (an Irish name pronounced Kee-ra).  I also have a character in my book with the same name (it probably isn’t an unusual name for her, but its one we don’t hear too often in the States). Third, she has her main character listen to Elbow (I just recently got introduced to the band and have been listening to them as I write. I also mention them in the current book I’m writing).

So, there you have it, my 5 star review, as it were.  I honestly do recommend reading this one.  Even though I typically don’t read mystery type books (I’m terrible at remembering names and dates) I loved this one.  I’m thankful that Rowling took it easy on my addled brain and didn’t throw too much info at me that I needed to remember!




3 thoughts on ““The Cuckoo’s Calling”

  1. Certainly JK Rowling has a talent, but even though authors might be talented, her success can be part of luck.
    Harry potter was a major success, and maybe the thoughts and events which came to her that day might have been lucky – but then again, the flaw in human evolution is the need to duplicate that which might benefit us. A truly good writer then is leaning heavily on the mechanics which the writing follows and the express interpretation of life events. The setting, plot etc. is just a carrier for the main message, sometimes not, but true literature is designed in this way. To really appreciate an artist, you need to carefully consider the hidden mechanics and the overall interpretation embedded through the plot. The mechanics of writing can be improved through time and practise…

    • I absolutely agree that a lot of success in any creative industry is part dumb luck, part timing, and part talent (sometimes it’s also who you know). I could give you a huge list of books that are successful because of those things and are due to no talent at all. That is the biggest reason why I wrote my own book.I never liked writing, per se, but I was reading and reviewing a large number of YA books and began to realize that I was seeing the same characters in the same situations. The settings, names, and some details were different, but otherwise they were the same. So, I essentially had one of those, “I can do better” moments, wrote a book, and now it is being published. I have no idea whether or not it will ever make it, but at least I gave it my best effort.
      I do also agree,that a lot of good literature is based on the interpretation of the author’s message. In the case of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” I think Rowling gave a lot of thought to fame and how it affects everyone around, and what sudden wealth can do to ordinary people. However, fame is really the main message of the book, which I find quite fascinating because she knows what sudden and obtrusive fame really feels like, probably more so than most authors.

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