Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 25th 2013 Contents DEBBIE JACOB
Like the stereotypic detectives or
private investigators in most crime
novels, Cormoran Strike possesses
some endearing qualities and some
idiosyncrasies that combine to
make him, well, a striking, char-
Cormoran, the private investigator
in The Cuckoo s Calling, a novel
written by JK Rowling under the
pseudonym Robert Galbraith, is
clumsy and often clueless. He s
struggling to survive and nearly
He has lost his girlfriend and
gained a temporary secretary in
Robin, who happens to have every-
thing going well in her life. She s
just had a proposal of marriage, and
she s just had a secret childhood
wish come true: getting a job in a
Thrown together by Strike s des-
perate need for a secretary, Strike
and Robin seem to make an unlikely
pair, except for the fact they re polar
opposites and opposites do attract---
even, it seems, in business.
If the two are operating like a
magnet, the first client they attract
is John Bristow who insists his
adopted sister, Lula Landry, better
known as Cuckoo to all of her
friends, did not die from a suicidal
dive off of her balcony. Bristow
insists that his sister must have been
This is where readers plunge into
the secret life of Cuckoo, a famously
wealthy supermodel who suffered
from bipolar disorder, drug addiction
and numerous other social and psy-
Bristow s entry into the picture
demonstrates how the author---"Gal-
braith" or Rowling, take your
choice---weaves together characters
like a nifty bird s nest.
Bristow didn t stumble on Strike.
We re told he found Strike s name
in the directory and recognises Strike
to be the childhood friend of his
brother Charlie, who died at ten---
but that s a whole other story you ll
have to read about.
Most of the fun of a detective
novel, colourful characters and riv-
eting plot aside, comes from the
parade of seedy settings. This one
includes posh, even ostentatious pads
for beautiful, rich and troubled peo-
ple of the fashion and rock n roll
Rowling has always known how
to create a bizarrely fascinating world
with a few good souls doing battle
with evil looming large. The plot
propels readers forward into the
secret hidden lives of flashy stars.
Unlike many authors of detective
novels, Rowling avoids the contrived
stories that loosely tie characters
together for the sake of creating a
pool of suspects. Instead, her char-
acters almost seem fated to be
together as though some invisible
hand pulled the thread that connects
The Cuckoo s Calling provides
much material for a book club dis-
cussion. Join us in the Sunday Arts
Section (SAS) Facebook group to
discuss JK Rowling and The Cuckoo s
Book Club questions:
1. The title alludes to a bird. The
victim was called Cuckoo; there s a
character named Robin and an ele-
vator described as one of those old-
fashioned birdcages. Do the bird allu-
sions work or do they seem too
contrived? What impact does this
imagery have on the story?
2. Do you think The Cuckoo s
Calling would have risen to such
notoriety if the true identity of the
author had not been revealed? Was
that revelation an accident or a cal-
culated publicity stunt?
3. Is it possible to judge this book
on its own merit and not compare
it to Rowling s Harry Potter books?
4. How does the cursing in this
book reflect on the author s pristine
image? Is the cursing necessary or
is it gratuitous?
5. Does J K Rowling overwrite?
Could the book have been shorter?
August 25, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
For artist Michelle Eistrup, her exploration of
spaces and the interactions between human
beings and animals began with a visit in 1996
to the city of Harar in Ethiopia.
"People and hyenas live close to each other
there. That really struck me. No one was running.
The hyenas would feed next to the people. They
have been coexisting for many years," Eistrup said.
Since then, some of her video art has focused on
the proximity of the urban and the wild. Her latest
video project has been developed in Trinidad.
With support from the Danish Arts Council,
Eistrup spent the months of July and August as
an artist in residence at the Alice Yard space in
Woodbrook, where she worked on both a light
installation and a video. As the curator of Bridging
Art and Text, a platform that seeks to create net-
works between Scandinavian writers and visual
artists and creatives operating in Africa and the
Caribbean, Eistrup also spent time meeting with
Eistrup is not a newcomer to the Caribbean.
She was born in Denmark to a Jamaican mother
and Danish father. She grew up in Jamaica, Paris
and New York. Her new video is entitled Pitch
Molded Animability and she has been busy in
Trinidad shooting and editing in preparation for
screening the work in September as part of the
Rendezvous with Nature exhibition in Oulu, Fin-
Segments of the video are shot in Senegal;
Eistrup directed her lens at the donkeys there.
"When I go to a place, I don t start filming the
people immediately. I follow the animals because
they tell something about space and give entry to
the people," she said.
Her experience of the donkeys in Senegal raised
for her key questions about spatial relationships
and the bonds we can have with each other.
"I noticed that the donkeys were allowed to
come into the stadium while the guys were playing
football. That tells me the people are not concerned
about being so precise about where an activity
can take place. For me that questions the notion
of boundaries. If there are no boundaries what
does that say about the capacity of people to be
It is this ability of animals to point the way to
the possibilities of deeper human interconnectivity
that is bound up in the meaning of the word "ani-
"Animability is a word I made up. It suggests
what animals can do. The word is about the pos-
sibilities of what animals have---of what they can
teach us," said Eistrup.
Animals found in Trinidad are also part of her
new work. She has spent time in Chaguaramas,
Caroni and La Brea capturing images of birds and
She has also filmed the Pitch Lake, using its
bubbling, malleable surface as a symbol of the
potential for reshaping and molding human
society in positive ways.
(CONTINUES ON PAGE B30)
Is The Cuckoo's
Calling for the birds?
Like the stereotypic detectives or private investigators in most crime
novels, Cormoran Strike possesses some endearing qualities and some
idiosyncrasies that combine to make him, well, a striking character.
A B C
Video art explores human
and animal interaction
Artist Michelle Eistrup.
A A A C
Links Archive August 24th 2013 August 26th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page