The plot of J.K Rowling’s latest novel is raising eyebrows, with critics saying the plot shares a close resemblance to reality.
The Ink Black Heart is the sixth installment of Rowling’s thriller series Cormoran Strike, which she penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
Since its release, observers have noted that the plot appears to mirror Rowling’s experience of public backlash after 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.
The scrutiny follows her fifth Cormoran Strike novel Troubled Blood.
That book featured a serial killer who routinely dressed in women’s clothing, which many understood as a transphobic storyline.
At the time, English journalist Paris Lees (who is herself transgender) said it stoked “fears around the myth about ‘men who dress up as women to hurt women’.”
‘Sometimes life imitates art more than one would like’
The book centers on 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
“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,” Rolling Stone reported.
The review added 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.
Despite the similarities between the plot and Rowling’s recent experiences, she maintains that the book was not inspired by real-life events.
“I wasn’t clairvoyant, I just – yeah, it was just one of those weird twists. Sometimes life imitates art more than one would like,” she told Graham Norton.
“I had written the book before certain things happened to me online,” she continued.
“I said to my husband, ‘I think everyone is going to see this as a response to what happened to me,’ but it genuinely wasn’t. The first draft of the book was finished at the point certain things happened.”
Despite Rowling’s protests, reviews of her latest novel seem to suggest that most believe art is imitating life.
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