Faking It

2 minute read
Bryan Walsh

Potter-besotted readers worldwide are desperate for author J.K. Rowling to stop counting her gazillions and finish the next Harry Potter book. But in China, there’s no need to wait. Middle Kingdom readers are eagerly slapping down $1.80 for Harry Potter and Leopard Walk up to Dragon, a 198-page book that claims to be the series’ fifth installment. If the tortured title isn’t clue enough: the book’s a fake, written in Mandarin by an anonymous Chinese author, though its cover bears Rowling’s name. Police are threatening to fine booksellers who stock it, but the People’s Literature Publishing House, Harry’s official Mandarin translator, seems powerless to protect its copyright. An official box set of the first three Potter books was published in October 2000 with an initial printing of 600,000 copies, which means Rowling may be China’s biggest author since Mao. But circulation of illegal copies has cut into her official sales. One thing’s for sure: diehard Hogwarts fans will be less than dazzled by the imposter’s literary gifts. The book begins with Harry “lying in a luxurious bathtub,” pondering his cousin “Dudley’s face, which is as fat as Aunt Petunia’s bottom.” Genuine Rowling analogies fetch more than $1.80. You get what you pay for.

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