J. K. Rowling and the Deadly Tedium

I was a fan of the Harry Potter books and didn’t have much patience for critics who couldn’t just enjoy the stories without pointing out that their author, J. K. Rowling, isn’t exactly a prose stylist. But she’s now written a 500-page novel for adults called The Casual Vacancy, and unfortunately it’s boring and badly written. In certain places, though, it’s so badly written that it ceases to be boring. From my review over on the homepage:

In an interview with Ian Parker for The New Yorker, Rowling revealed that she considers the book “more of a comic tragedy” than a “black comedy.” Actually it is neither. What humor it contains is unintentional. For instance: “He retained a vivid memory of her bare pink vulva; it was as though Father Christmas had popped up in their midst.” And another, perhaps more puzzling, image: “She thought of sex with Miles. . . . His performance was as predictable as a Masonic handshake.” Rowling’s non-sexual similes are similarly confounding: “Through all Tessa’s anxiety and sorrow was threaded the usual worry, like an itchy little worm.”

Read the whole review here.

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