It seems that J.K. Rowling pulled a bit of literary… sleight of hand (you thought I was going to say “magic,” didn’t you?) and wrote a novel when nobody was looking. Rowling was revealed yesterday to be the author of a 450-page mystery novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling.
The novel was released in April. It was highly regarded by critics, but also posed something of, well, a mystery. It seems that the novel struck critics as a little too polished for the debut novel of a military veteran. A little digging by The Sunday Times revealed that Galbraith had the same editor and publisher as Rowling. Rowling later confirmed her secret identity.
After finishing her widely-beloved Harry Potter series, there were many questions about where Rowling’s literary career would go next. Last year’s The Casual Vacancy appeared to be the answer. The novel, which deals with politics in a small town, was widely hyped as Rowling’s first non-Harry Potter book. When it released last year it sold decently well, but got a decidedly lukewarm reception from critics.
Given the hype surrounding The Casual Vacancy and the mixed reception from critics, it makes sense that Rowling would want to try publishing a novel anonymously. In fact, she told The Sunday Times that she regrets how quickly the real identity of Robert Galbraith was discovered: “I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”
Despite the critical acclaim it has received, The Cuckoo’s Calling has only seen modest sales. That, as you might expect, is changing rapidly. The book has rocketed to the top of several bestseller lists, including Amazon and the iBookstore.
The Cuckoo’s Calling is currently available in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook form from all major book vendors.