Oct. 24th, 2016

jyrgenn: Blurred head shot from 2007 (Default)
Apparently I haven't yet written about Rowling's eagerly awaited first non-Harry-Potter book. Like, I guess, everyone else I was curious how she would hold up outside of her usual world and genre. To make it short: very well.

Roughly one and a half years after it was published, I read it on a vacation on Mallorca; I had a plenty of time for reading and for immersing myself in the book. Equally curious what route she would take at all, I saw that this was not fantasy, not mystery, not historic, just fiction. In between I have forgotten much of the book, but its essence still lingers.

After someone dies right at the start of the book, the social fabric of a small English town emerges as people learn of his death. After getting to know the protagonists we are shown their relationships, first the obvious ones, then the hidden ones, their backgrounds, their desires, their history, their conflicts, their secrets.

In parts this is like in a whodunit story, only there is no crime, as the death was clearly due to a natural cause. And unlike the typical whodunit the fabric is not static, as people not only go on about their business, but new things happen, existing relationships change, new relationship are built, and some conflicts are resolved.

I like it. Rowling has shown that she is not limited to genre fiction. This book is full of believable characters and developments; nothing feels forced or pretentious.

Of course I read the book because her name is on it. But it is well worth reading on its own merits.

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