The Typical Book Group met last night to discuss The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith. There were 7 of us there, and 6 of us had read the book. Some of the members are big fans of J. K. Rowling, who is the actual author behind the Galbraith pseudonym, but none of us usually read detective stories.
We all found that we liked The Cuckoo's Calling, and that we might read the next book in the series, which will be coming out shortly. What we talked a lot about were all of the different story lines and red herrings. Galbraith/Rowling did a great job of tying everything together at conclusion, and there weren't any questions left unanswered. But some of the characters and plot twists were completely unnecessary, and only served to keep the reader guessing. That may be exactly what appeals to detective story readers, but it was a little much for us.
We did not talk much about Robin, even though the story is hers as much as it is Strike's. Strike is the detective and Robin is the temporary assistant, but she enmeshes herself in the plot completely. Rowling, a woman, was trying to write as a man, and we talked about some of the hints that the writer might actually be female. Apparently some critics said that a man would never include a fashion storyline in a novel, while others were saying that the author was obviously a man because a woman author would never let a "normal" man like Strike sleep with a supermodel. The way that Robin became essential to the story might also have been a hint that the writer was female. But then, if I hadn't already known that the author was a woman, the choice of the name of the trusty sidekick might have made me think it was a man writing. After all, if she's Robin, does that make Strike a certain comic superhero?
Next month we'll discuss We are Water by Wally Lamb.
Still Reading: Great House by Nicole Krauss
Still Listening to: The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian