From National Public Radio:
J.K. Rowling, who rose to fame as the author of the Harry Potter series, is known for writing about magical subjects and fantasy worlds. But her latest book bears more than a passing resemblance to reality — and, critics say, not in a good way.
The Ink Black Heart is the sixth installment of Rowling’s thriller series Cormoran Strike, which she penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The 1,024-page tome started raising eyebrows as soon as it hit stores on Tuesday.
Observers noted that the plot appears to mirror Rowling’s own experience of taking heat and losing fans for expressing transphobic views in recent years. Rowling has said publicly that the book was not based on her own life, even though some of the events that take place in the story did in fact happen to her as she was writing it.
“Although I have to say when it did happen to me, those who had already read the book in manuscript form were [like] – are you clairvoyant?” Rowling wrote in a Q&A on Galbraith’s website. “I wasn’t clairvoyant, I just – yeah, it was just one of those weird twists. Sometimes life imitates art more than one would like.”
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The book centers the story of Edie Ledwell, a popular cartoonist who, according to the official description, is “persecuted by a mysterious online figure” — and ultimately found dead — after her cartoon was criticized for being racist, ableist and transphobic (at least partly over a bit involving “a hermaphrodite worm,” Rolling Stone reports).
“The book takes a clear aim at ‘social justice warriors’ and suggests that Ledwell was a victim of a masterfully plotted, politically fueled hate campaign against her,” the magazine continues, adding that the character gets doxxed — with “photos of her home plastered on the Internet” — and faces threats of rape and death because of her opinions.
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Rowling said in November that she’s received death threats. She also publicly accused three activists of doxxing her when they posted photos of themselves holding pro-trans rights signs outside of her house in Scotland, “carefully positioning themselves to ensure that our address was visible,” she said.
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Lark Malakai Gray, co-host of the queer Harry Potter podcast “The Gayly Prophet” told NPR over email that he finds the situation “deeply embarrassing” for Rowling.
“She has published a 1,000-page self-insert fanfiction where she’s the victim—it’s the kind of behavior that you’d expect from a petulant teenager, not a grown adult with immense wealth and power,” he added. “I have no idea what she expected, but seeing the internet fill with jokes about the book has been an absolute joy after all the harm she has caused my community over the past several years.”
Link to the rest at National Public Radio