J.K. Rowling’s new book splits opinionby Gabriela Schulz
Lethal White, the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series, was published on September 18th, 2018. Written by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, the book divided critics’ opinions. Read more!
Set in London during the 2012 Olympic games, the story follows Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin Ellacott trying to unfold a mystery involving a mentally unstable teenager who believes to have witnessed a murder when he was a child.
A 650 pages book…
The Evening Standard did not hold criticism back to the repetitive writing and to the 650 pages. “She is addicted to triplets of all kinds: adjectival; noun; adverbial, and, above all, chromatical,” they said. The tabloid also pointed out some plot confusion: “A revolver suddenly becomes a rifle on one page. Rowling says she was working on a play and two screenplays while writing Lethal White. It shows.”
The New York Times shared the same opinion on the length of the book. “It is an old-fashioned novel, by which I mean that it is 650 pages long and that few of its protagonists’ activities, emotions and motivations are left to the reader’s imagination. […] all of this is exhaustively described and occasionally exhausting to hear”, they wrote. On the other hand, the critic finished the article saying that “If I had to choose, I’d rather have more [pages] than less.”
…with political plots
The American paper praised J.K. Rowling for letting her personal political view aside, very present in Casual Vacancy, while writing as Robert Galbraith. “[Robert] is just as happy to send up the self-righteous anti-capitalists of the left as the clueless twits of the right,” they said. On the other hand, the website Vox wrote that her political opinions “are not that interesting”. “Rowling traditionally links her mysteries loosely to some political ideas, […] they’re mostly pretty centrist and can be best summarized as, “everyone is a little bit wrong and a little bit right.”
Just like The New York Times, the British newspaper The Guardian, praised her political plot. “It’s a big book and […] doesn’t lack ambition, […] indicating themes of social, political and moral conflict.”, they said. Even though, the critic agreed that the book could have been “a little more rigorously edited”, and that Rowling “is too often “losing herself in secondary clauses”. “The central murder doesn’t happen until nearly 300 pages in”, they counted. “There is a discursive delight in many meticulously descriptive passages, but they keep us detached from what might be at the heart of this novel”.
Behind pen and paper
In an interview to The New York Times, J.K. Rowling said that, before starting every Cormoran Strike book, she knows exactly who killed, why and how. Lethal White “required a spreadsheet that was more complicated than any I’ve created before. It had nine columns, red text for red herrings, blue text for clues, and various colors for different suspects and themes”, she said.
The first three volumes of the Cormoran Strike series were The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013), The Silkworm (2014) and Career of Evil (2015). Although the stories follow up to Cormoran and Robin’s relationship, there is no connection in between the main plot in the books and each volume.
Cormoran Strike’s future
In her official website, the author revealed that she plans on writing other seven volumes for Cormoran Strike. Although Rowling might intercalate writing the detective’s story to the screenplays for Fantastic Beasts and other books she plans on publishing.
The TV Series
In 2017, the books were adapted into a TV series. With Tom Burke and Holly Grainger as Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott, Strike had seven episodes. In the UK, the show is broadcasted by BBC One. According to BARB – responsible to measure television audience – it had around 8 million spectators per episode. Those numbers say a lot; Sherlock‘s first season, for example, had similar numbers.
In an interview to POTTERISH, the cast explained the challenges in the production.