JK Rowling's 'Casual Vacancy' Reviews Are Lukewarm But We’ll Read It Anyway

The Casual VacancyHave y'all heard? J.K. Rowling, the woman who took the literary (and then cinematic) world by storm with the Harry Potter series, is coming out with a brand-spanking new book ... for adults. The Casual Vacancy is being hyped to lure people in with sex, super-graphic language, and rock 'n' roll. Just feels so wrong.

The 512-page book will be Rowling's first ever since she released the last Harry Potter five years ago. The plot is set in the small fictional British village of Pagford. An unexpected death of a town official leaves a vacancy in the town's government, and that sets up some issues with a neighboring town called Fields. There are politics and class warfare involved as well as a look into the personal lives of many of the characters. Sounds about as far from Harry Potter as you can get! And the early reviews for the novel are in. You know you wanna see 'em.

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As of now, the reviews have been rather lukewarm. The reviewer from The Guardian admitted she "loved" it, while the New York Daily News had a far more negative opinion. Here are all the reviews we could find that have come out before the book's September 27 release. Enjoy!

From the New York Daily News:

It’s the teenagers then who bear the burden of making us care. And while Rowling more successfully builds drama on this front, the problem is she hasn’t much new to add to the annals of adolescent strife. Ditto on drug-infested poverty. We’ve read it before, darker, bleaker and better.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

But if fans are expecting a Harry Potter-like book, they're in for a shock: The Casual Vacancy features some similar Harry Potter themes, such as morality and mortality, but that is where the comparisons end. The adjectives, for example, are of a different sort.

From the Associated Press:

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.

From the New Yorker:

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 labelled 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.

From The Guardian:

Like so many British novels, The Casual Vacancy is inescapably about class ... The book is so funny I was halfway through before noticing that every character is, to a varying degree, monstrous. Written from multiple perspectives, the novel invites the reader into their heads, where internal logic helps make sense of what can look, from the outside, inexcusable.

So, what do you think? Will these reviews change your mind on whether or not you're reading the book?

 

Image via Amazon

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