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J.K. Rowling and the Chamber of Literary Fame

(Updates eighth paragraph to say “Second and more surprisingly” and ninth paragraph to say “may owe their success to a combination of luck and cumulative advantage rather than superior talent.”)

Last weekend’s revelation that J.K. Rowling is the author of the critically acclaimed and -- until now -- commercially unsuccessful crime novel “The Cuckoo’s Calling” has electrified the book world and solidified Rowling’s reputation as a genuine writing talent: After all, if she can impress the critics without the benefit of her towering reputation, then surely her success is deserved.