sábado, julho 19, 2014

"The Silkworm" by Robert Galbraith/J. K. Rowling

The Silkworm - J.K. Rowling, Robert Galbraith
The inner-monologues were great pieces in “Cuckoo’s Calling”. Here Galbraith/Rowling ups the game.

I was never much of a Potter fan when the books came out (I was living in the “wrong age” at the time…). Once again Galbraith/Rowling was able to show me why I love reading. We live in a media culture, where the image is stronger and more omniscient than the written word. In my opinion books do a better job of “transporting” me to Yonderland than any other medium, to get me to empathize, to make me think.

Being Portuguese, I’m quite familiar with Fernando Pessoa’s heteronyms.
From where do heteronyms appear? What subject is behind them after all? In the case of Pessoa, they came from the inner self. With Galbraith/Rowling we don’t know. In this case we really cannot talk about an heteronym. Here it’s just a pseudonym. We don’t really have a literary persona, ie, we don’t really know who “Robert Galbraith” is. What I know is that Galbraith/Rowling’s writing is quite different from the Rowling/Potter’s books.

The desire to nail a personality to an author is so strong that even when the best effort is made to honour the creation of a pseudonym (or a heteronym come to that) and the new authorial persona it offers, those efforts are doomed to be undermined by the reading public.

I admit to being partial to Galbraith, which is much more my cup of tea. Galbraith is much more Dickensian (wordy, descriptive) whereas in the harry Potter books we can discern a Stephen King flavour.

What did “The Silkworm” give me? It’s part hard-boiled, part satiric, part poignant and part romantic (Strike vs Robin for instance). What more could I ask? On top of that it’s superbly written.

Galbraith/Rowling three main distinctive “features”:

  • The above-mentioned inner-monologues, ie, the ability to get inside Strike’s head;
  • The characters never fall flat, ie, they are not reduced to mere archetypal roles but instead have a life beyond the page.
  • Old-school Crime Fiction in its structure, ie, at the end of the novel Strikes assembles the suspects in one place for a Poirot-like speech of elementary deduction, but the way the curtain closes is not Agatha-Christie-like...

“The Silkworm” is classic Crime Fiction with a modern sensitiveness, written with intelligent humor and a Dickensian eye.

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