More J.K. Rowling news: her book Casual Vacancy is out! The book is available in U.S. bookstores, in addition to a digital edition. It's also supposed to be released in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Germany.

In her adult novel, the unexpected death of a member of the parish council and the ensuing election sparks a war among a small town's residents. Press materials have called the book "blackly comic," while The New Yorker called the description of one family "ostentatiously unremitting: drugs, prostitution, the stink of diapers." Pretty intense, right?

Critical Reviews

Some critics also have had things to say. Check these reviews out:

“The Casual Vacancy will certainly sell, and it may also be liked. There are many nice touches, including Rowling’s portrait of the social worker’s gutless boyfriend, who relishes how, in an argument with a lover, you can 'obscure an emotional issue by appearing to seek precision.' The book’s political philosophy is generous, even if its analysis of class antagonisms is perhaps no more elaborate than that of Caddyshack. And, as the novel turns darker, toward a kind of Thomas Hardy finale, it hurtles along impressively. But whereas Rowling’s shepherding of readers was, in the Harry Potter series, an essential asset, in The Casual Vacancy her firm hand can feel constraining. She leaves little space for the peripheral or the ambiguous; hidden secrets are labeled as hidden secrets, and events are easy to predict. We seem to watch people move around Pagford as if they were on Harry’s magical parchment map of Hogwarts." -- Ian Parker of The New Yorker

"So look, here's the thing: This. Is. Not. A. Children's. Book. If you're looking for what made Harry Potter magical - Wizards! Spells! Flying Broomsticks! -- you're not going to find it. If you're looking for what makes J.K. Rowling magical -- emotion, heart -- you will. ... [The] ability to bring her characters to their emotional life was a hallmark of the Harry Potter series -- it didn't become a global phenomenon just because it was an exciting adventure, but because there was a real heart to it, characters who had both strengths and weaknesses, who struggled with their choices. That's what makes this book worth it, despite a slow start and sometimes too much of the descriptions and adjectives that added life to Harry Potter but at times tend to bog Rowling down here. That's what makes the book's ending scenes so heartbreaking -- turning the page seems unbearable, but not as much as putting down the book would be." -- Deepti Hajela of the Associated Press

"The Casual Vacancy is no masterpiece, but it's not bad at all: intelligent, workmanlike, and often funny. I could imagine it doing well without any association to the Rowling brand, perhaps creeping into the Richard and Judy Book Club, or being made into a three-part TV serial. The fanbase may find it a bit sour, as it lacks the Harry Potter books' warmth and charm; all the characters are fairly horrible or suicidally miserable or dead. But the worst you could say about it, really, is that it doesn't deserve the media frenzy surrounding it. And who nowadays thinks that merit and publicity have anything do with each other?" -- Theo Tait of the U.K.'s Guardian


Hollywood Reporter

Did you buy The Casual Vacancy? What did you think of it? Leave your comments below!

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