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T.C.A. Sharad Raghavan

By J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Throrne
Year 2016, pp. 343, Rs. 899.00

VOLUME XL NUMBER 11 November 2016

Asking somebody who picked up the first Harry Potter book when he was 11—the age Harry himself was when his world was turned upside down with the revelation that he was a wizard—to review the final instalment of JK Rowling’s hugely successful series is quite a gamble. As I type this, it is only my consideration for you, dear reader, that is holding me back from GOING ALL CAPS and screaming my praise for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child to the high heavens. But that would be me as a fan. Let me try it as just a reader. Cursed Child is different from all the previous Harry Potter books for several reasons. The most obvious, of course, is the format. This is not a book. It is the script for a play. The fact is obvious from the get go, with the book starting with italicized stage directions. Rowling has been quite vocal about how this is not a book and should not be read as one, but nevertheless it is easy to fall back on the old dictum: If it looks like a book, feels like a book, and even smells like a book, then it must be a book! But it is not one. Remember that, as it is key to the various issues that afflict Cursed Child. There’s no getting around it: the script format of Cursed Child certainly does take away from the reading experience for the first few chapters. The fact that every dialogue is written as the speaker’s name followed by the dialogue is something that stares you in the face from page one. But that said, the mind adapts very quickly and soon you find you’re reading it almost like a book. Another issue arising out of the fact that it is a play and not a book is that we get to understand the original meaning of the phrase ‘behind the scenes’. There is a lot that happens in Cursed Child outside of what is written on the page, and those who are used to JK Rowling’s rich tapestry of words will feel like they are gnawing on bones when yesterday there was prime steak for dinner. So be warned. Which brings us to another reason why Cursed Child is different from the other Harry Potter books. It is the first one to not ...

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