The Cuckoo’s Calling is a crime/detective novel by Robert Galbraith. The beginning of the novel provides the reader with the question that they will attempt to discover through the course of the novel: How did Lula Landry, a famed model, die? The novel then moves into a description of the main character, Cormoran Strike. Galbraith portrays him as being on the verge of career failure after it is revealed that his personal life has gone down the tubes. This characterization tells the reader that the main character could be classified as “the underdog,” or someone fighting against his circumstances for his survival and hopes of success. Everything rests upon his ability to solve the mystery.
A female character is introduced as Strike’s assistant in solving the crime. One can easily make a liken the duo to Batman and Robin; coincidentally enough, the character’s name is Robin.
Though the novel is centered on solving the “whodunit” mystery, it simultaneously presents readers with the opportunity to deconstruct an alternative mystery: the myth of how the obscenely rich live their lives. The novel touches on the hopes, dreams, fears, troubles, and corrupt attitudes and behaviors of the rich and aspiring.
The author continues to explore the myths surrounding social class in the framing of the main character, Strike. Strike’s case is particularly intriguing because he was the son of a celebrity yet chose to disown that aspect of his history, embracing the culture of the working-class professional instead. His resentment towards being associated with his father is clearly depicted in multiple scenes throughout the novel. The only way Strike can solve the case is to examine the culture of the life he turned away from.
I really liked that Chandler described myth as “extended metaphors.” The characterization of the members of the upper echelon could only occur because we live in a culture where things such as a “’clinging poison-green’ Cavalli dress, vintage Ossie Clark confections and ‘fabby handbags’ with custom-printed ‘detachable silk linings'” exist. This is the point that Barthes makes in his analysis of myth particularly in regards to social class. The myth is given meaning because of the signs that exist.
“A Murder Is Solved, a Sleuth Is Born.” 17 July 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/18/books/in-j-k-rowlings-cuckoos-calling-model-dies-but-why.html?pagewanted=all
Galbraith, Robert. The Cuckoo’s Calling.
Roland Barthes, Mythologies, “Myth Today” (excerpt from Mythologies, trans. Annette Lavers, 1984, pp. 107-45).
Semiotics for Beginners. http://users.aber.ac.uk/dgc/Documents/S4B/sem06.html