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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy -still not disappointing

by J.R. Wagner

This isn't a review of The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I'm not even done reading the book. While reading, I've come across some eye-catching words and phrases that I think are worth sharing. Yes, I'm a writer and therefore a word addict. When I see something out of the ordinary, extraordinary or something I just don't know, I write it down.

Will anyone know the word definitions? Comment if you do!

I needed the assistance of my friend Dictionary.com to get some definitions and or confirmations that these words were actually words and not something Rowling used with her now unlimited creative license.

I had my doubts as to whether or not interrogatively was an actual word.

Yup, it's a word.

in·ter·rog·a·tive·ly, adverb.
of, pertaining to, or conveying a question.


I really enjoyed this...

"...as though there were degrees of deadness, and the kind that Barry Fairbrother had contracted was particularly sordid."

I honestly didn't know what the heck this word meant.


ped·a·gog·i·cal·ly, adverb.

of or pertaining to a pedagogue or pedagogy.

The definition isn't very helpful until you know what pedagogy means...

Pedagogy: the function or work of a teacher; teaching.
I really enjoyed the visualization of this phrase

"...for everything was suddenly tissue-thin and friable."

This one, while gross, is so very accurate and visceral. Love it!

"..scratching idly at the overfold of his belly, which was often itchy,"

Don't see this used in a sentence every day...

"Krystal sat in truculent silence,..."

truculent fierce; cruel; savagely brutal.

This sentence is both beautifully written and verbose -I suppose many beautifully written sentences are verbose. The literary scholars out there would enjoy this one.

"These rapid scribbles, the pixels arranged by fingers henceforth forever still, acquired the macabre aspect of husks."

Here is another word that, in context I could hazard a guess at the definition but standing alone I would have been clueless:

"...and he could not help feeling that he had been vouchsafed a sign, a celestial wink."

Vouchsafed: to allow or permit, as by favor or graciousness:


Even in context, this one is difficult. It could mean what's on the other side of the comma; vocal/independent -or it could mean something else entirely.

"...Pagford prided itself on being the most obstreperous, the most vocal and the most independent."

Obstreperous: resisting control or restraint in a difficult manner; unruly.


Again I could come up with a definition simply by the word's context but it wasn't dead on.

"The first effusion of Pagford's outrage had annealed into a quieter, but no less powerful, sense of grievance."

Annealed: to toughen or temper.

and just for fun there are five definitions for this word and only one of them would work in this context. I seriously think she has a cool word substitution specialist on her staff.

1. to heat (glass, earthenware, metals, etc.) to remove or prevent internal stress.
2. to free from internal stress by heating and gradually cooling.
3. to toughen or temper.
4. Biochemistry . to recombine (nucleic acid strands) at low temperature after separating by heat.
5. to fuse colors onto (a vitreous or metallic surface) by heating.


This is just a beautifully worded metaphor.

"...satellite dishes everywhere, turned to the skies like denuded ovules of grim metal flowers."

If Stephen King were editing this book, he would have hacked out every unnecessary adverb and adjective in the book (if you don't get the reference, read, On Writing).  Would it have made it easier to read? Probably. Would it have been as enjoyable? I suppose that depends on the reader.

Thus far into the book (~200 pages), I'm not hooked like I was with Harry Potter.  Then again, this is not anything like Harry Potter. I am enjoying it...slowly. Eventually, I'll share my overall thoughts on the book.  I'm currently reading four others, which slightly hinders my ability to blow through any single title (unless it is fantastic).

If anyone can honestly say they could identify the meanings of all the above words, post a comment and I'll send you something for your literary brilliance!

To purchase Exiled, bid on the movie rights, hire me as a writer for the next Blade Runner film, the next Star Wars film...for videos, fan art, contests and more, visit my website!

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