Egger’s book of the month: The Cuckoo’s Calling

Matthew Egger, copy editor

Ask nearly anyone about J.K. Rowling, and they’ll instantly think about the Harry Potter series. I have read the series a number of times myself. Naturally, when I discovered that she has also written a crime series, I got my hands on a copy of the first title, The Cuckoo’s Calling. The series, titled “The Cormoran Strike Series” tells stories of a private detective’s investigations in London.

I am, by and large, a reader of nonfiction. I usually feel that nonfiction presents the greatest opportunity for learning and personal growth. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a proper fiction piece, and I forgot how valuable fiction can be. I began reading The Cuckoo’s Calling during the chaos of college application deadlines and midterm essays and tests. The simple act of reading a chapter or two before going to bed became a very enjoyable aspect of each busy day. Reading the book lead to my realization that fiction presents a great opportunity to momentarily forget about the challenging, monotonous, or chaotic aspects of life.

The plot of  The Cuckoo’s Calling revolves around the death of the model Lula Landry, which the police concluded was caused by suicide. However, the brother of Landry hires Cormoran Strike to investigate what he feels was actually a murder. Galbraith’s vividly illustrative style of writing and voice are similar to that of the hugely popular Harry Potter series. She has a unique ability to intricately describe the traits of the characters and their settings, yet not distract the reader from the plot development.

While Galbraith’s unique writing style made the book a pleasure to read, the book felt a bit monotonous at times. The reader is faced with reading the dialogue of countless interviews conducted by Strike, who questions a wide plethora of individuals acquainted with Landry. As I progressed through The Cuckoo’s Calling, reading these interviews became somewhat tedious and tiresome. It would have been more interesting to read about Strike personally investigating Landry’s death; also, Rowling could have made greater use of her uncommon voice by using less dialogue and more creative descriptions.

Despite the monotony that stems from the heavy use of dialogue in The Cuckoo’s Calling, the book reopened the doors of the fiction genre for me. Reading Galbraith’s writing was a welcome change of pace from dense nonfiction pieces, and the similarities of the book to Harry Potter also provoked a sense of nostalgia in me. I would recommend The Cuckoo’s Calling to any Edina High School students seeking a brief respite from the trials of high school life.