Monday, 15 July 2013

The Day I Went 'Cuckoo'

I rather like that blog title.

As you must have heard in the news recently, JK Rowling published a book under the pseudonym 'Robert Galbraith' a few months back. The book, The Cuckoo's Calling, is a Private Detective Crime Thriller Thing, and it had received overly positive reviews. Some said it was exceptionally good for a debut writer, while someone else said how clever a man was to describe women's clothing... Swiftly moving on.

JK Rowling said that the experience of writing as Robert was "liberating", and the concept of writing under a pseudonym to avoid judgement from Harry Potter fans and general critics is a good idea. To get good feedback based on the story and not the name is kind of the point of being a writer. So good old JK (sorry for quoting Doctor Who then, it just slips out).

Here arises the problem. JK Rowling has been exceptionally clever, and she is an exceptionally clever woman. Both "Hagrid" and "Dumbledore" were names from a classic novel that she adapted. The problem is that I just don't like her writing style. I've never got the Harry Potter hype, I'm not a huge Potter fan at all (although the films are good..) and JK Rowling isn't my cup of tea.

However, like the rest of the nation I expect - I downloaded a Free Sample (no way was I buying the book straight away) of The Cuckoo's Calling for Kindle. Just out of curiosity. Just to see how she wrote now, just to see what it was like - JK Rowling writing free of the reigns of popularity.

So despite my dislike of her works, there I was, the night of the 14th July, reading the first few chapters of the book. And I enjoyed it. It's not without it's faults, definitely, but it is very enjoyable. It's gripping, grown up - and it feels very real. I can feel myself in the places described, and there's all sorts of precise detail, dropped in to enhance the book. It never distracts. The book keeps one flow of thought, and as you turn to the next chapter, you desperately hope the scenario doesn't change. Thankfully, 'til the end of Chapter 3, it doesn't.

And obviously judging a book on the first three Chapters is odd - but that's the point of a Sample. I think it's the only Kindle sample I've ever finished, and the only time I've been tempted to buy a Kindle book based on whim. Most of my books I have a previous interest in, be it with the author or theme. This is JK Rowling. I should have no interest - yet it fascinates me. And the book is good.

The sentences are ridiculously long sometimes - and that can be annoying. It does work occasionally, even if it took me a few reads to get everything, and it is a clever way of showing quick action. But in a long sentence, small details distract. They should be saved 'til afterwards - sometimes it feels like three sentences in one. And sometimes, when there's not really much happening, long sentences are use for back story - which doesn't really work. So that is a flaw. And it could get quite annoying.

But all this leads me to my question - to the point of this blog entry. Have I gone Cuckoo? Because I actually want to buy this book. Should I buy this book? Maybe I should - you know, it's interesting, I might finish it, I do want to know what happens next. I could put up with the long sentences. Maybe I'd even lose the "This is JK Rowling, stop reading" thing in my head. Or maybe I shouldn't - it's £10, it's a risk, and that could be spent on Tom Odell's debut album, which I've been meaning to buy since it came out a few weeks ago.

So - yes or no? That's more a rhetorical question, and the answer will probably end up being yes.

Because taking a risk might be worth it. Maybe I will actually enjoy it. I have so far - so that's a good enough reason to keep going.

Or maybe I'll just give up. Either way, giving up or not - surely it's worth a go first?

No comments:

Post a Comment