When I began to read this, I was somewhat disturbed by the apparent snail’s pace of the developing plot… until I realised that a plot, a storyline, a clear movement from start (Barry Fairbrother’s death) to finish (and no I’m not giving that away) does not really exist.
The story weaves from one character to another – from one family to another – from one situation to another – from one town to another – and back again. Rowling does a magnificent job of exposing the darker nature of humanity, and her character building is second to none.
I kept saying to friends that I was struggling with the book, nearly all the way through – but even so, I could not put it down. I recognised people I had known, and I finally recognised what a brilliant writer Rowling is… and stopped struggling with my expectation and simply enjoyed it for what it was.
Here’s the thing. If you want magic… its not here. If you want a murder mystery… its not here. Put your expectations of J.K. away, and appreciate this for what it is: a brilliant, character-driven *adult* novel.