What you don’t know.. #BAR-A-Thon

As I am waiting for yet another Harry Potter to arrive and make me smile, I go back to a reading tale! Well, I don’t think you’d know I had this post hidden somewhere 😛 or that temptation changed meanings over the last two days 😛

This was a post written around July 2015 when  Rowling was on the verge of publishing a third book as Galbraith in the Detective Cormoran series. When a post was put up in a book group I am part of, there was a comment from a member as to why the pseudonym at all since the mystery behind the face behind Galbraith is known to the world of readers and publishers, then why stick to it. This post is an afterthought to that question.. I’m amused the lanes through which post ideas walk in.. this one from a comment, and it pushed me to put together an answer.

I was thrilled about the release of The Casual Vacancy. My journey with JK Rowling began with Harry Potter like most of ours did, and what mattered now was that she was writing again. I was so excited just like during the the release of a HP book that I started a count down to the release of this one too. When the guy from Flipkart called, I was surprised to find that there were three to four copies of the Vacancy in his big delivery bag to be distributed to the residents of the campus. I was not the only one brimming with excitement over a new book. It does not always matter this shared excitement, but at certain moments when I find a kindred soul, the comfort of that feeling is immeasurable.

The book arrived, and I did not waste a minute to start the reading. It was a hardbound copy, a little too big to fit into my hands. The physicality of the book neither dimmed my thrill nor created a tired howl! I started to read, turned page after page.. and found to my dismay that the story was nothing like Harry Potter! There! that was how I did a disservice to both Rowling and the Vacancy! I compared and started on the wrong foot!

It took me a while to understand the whys of why I did not enjoy the Vacancy at all or enjoyed it in parts. I was always thinking of it from a reference point of her previous seven books on Harry Potter. It was difficult to tear her away from the image of the one who weaved together the magical world of Potter, and cast her into the role of a writer of mundane muggle stories. I did read the novel at a later point, and quite enjoyed it after skipping the first 150 pages or so, when it started to edge towards the mystery! (It could be my bias for a good mystery novel that I did not care that much for the intricately woven character profiles in the first 100 pages).

Time passed by and Robert Galbraith appeared. I bought a copy and finished the story in one go, sitting up a whole night! I was partially aware that it was Rowling in disguise, but this book worked better for me thanVacancy. It could be the distance between the Potter series and this one in time.. it could also be the pseudonym. I guess, a pseudonym such as Galbraith shakes away that connection, the name Rowling has with Potter, at least partially and temporarily, although it does play in the back of our heads! Through Galbraith she may be expecting some kind of a magic trick (See I bring in magic again, this is the problem Rowling faces ;))”

Potter is just one of her writerly faces, but that one face has made a deep impression! The pseudonym therefore works to remove her from that face and cast her anew into a new one. At least that is what I think..the name, Galbraith, does not sound anything like Rowling, or a writer of Potter to me.. Galbraith makes me think of big books with mysterious cover pages.. with a shade of black in it.. and spells sleuth!

Source: Rowling-Galbraith: the pseudonym face

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An Aquarius Woman

18 thoughts on “What you don’t know.. #BAR-A-Thon”

  1. I admire JK Rowling though I’ve never read any of her works. Any author who can write so much engaging so many people is really a great author. I suppose a pseudonym like a cloak is essential to write as another person altogether ….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would have to agree to what you are saying, she has an entire generation growing up with her books, her books are crossover fiction, they are adaptable to screen and now play. There is a lot of merit, thought and writing inside her. Haha! The cloak 🙂


  2. I agree. A different name brings a different author picture to mind. I wouldn’t associate JK Rowling with anything other than Harry Potter. With Galbraith I’m ready to read a different genre, somewhat. I have to admit though that I couldn’t finish A Casual Vacancy. Maybe I should give it a second attempt.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wait…okay, you didn’t read my review and want to kill me, did you? I went through the same phase. I re-read casual vacancy after I got used to Galbraith – but even then, that didn’t sit well with me as a book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I couldn’t go past the first chapter of casual vacancy. It was downright boring. It’s good that she used a pseudonym because somewhere in my mind now I associate Rowling only with the amazing HP series and not her other works… which are not my favorite.


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