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 The Pseudonym and The Cuckoo’s Calling

By: Konika Mukherjee

Cuckoo's callingThe hyped revelation of Rowling’s book ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ under a pseudonym and an assumed background of an army personnel has led us again to wonder about the need of hiding behind an unknown persona. There was a time when female authors had to assume a male pseudonym in order to be accepted without the sexual bias. From Mary Ann Evans to Brontè sisters, female authors had to don a male attire. But circumstances which Many Ann Evans and Brontè sisters faced were different than Rowling has in today’s world. A critically acclaimed author, Rowling, whose problem is not her gender but her fame, had to do it incognito, so that her work does not become the victim of Potter yardstick which critics and fans would otherwise use.

Imagine if “The Cuckoo’s Calling” had been published with Rowling’s byline, it was obvious for media to draw analogies between her past works and filled the news pages with pre-reviews resulting into sale of millions of copies (which I think has happened post the revelation).

Do you think that post the revelation things have changed? I guess not. The novel which had received almost nil focus in the literary world suddenly attracted the world’s spotlight. I confess that I’m one of the post revelation readers, having not heard of the book before the whole media-fuss, and I agree that the book should be read for the beautiful penmanship, Rowling’s uncanny way of tying ends and the satisfying way in which evil is again punished. However, it’s a work for which the author’s identity barely matters. It’s one of those murder-mysteries which every fan of Sir Doyle would adore. It’s an intense, heart racing murder mystery which I truly liked.



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