Rowling’s New Book’s Title Released

On Hypable this morning, the title was announced as “A Casual Vacancy”, with a length of 480 pages and a release date of September 27 of this year.

The Little, Brown synopsis:

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

Obviously very different material from Harry Potter, though as Eric comments over at Hogwarts Professor, “I wonder how much we should make of the fact that the first book began with a boy named Harry who lived, and this one begins with a man named Barry who dies?”

The synopsis tells us a lot about the town but absolutely nothing about any living characters, suggesting that Rowling may be diverging from the tight third-person (limited omniscient) narrative voice she used in Harry Potter, or at least using multiple perspectives throughout. The situation has a lot of potential to get very political, although it could also be a comedy of manners–or both; neither would be far from Rowling’s tendencies or influences.

Any thoughts or prognostications? Now that we have a title and synopsis, will you be out to get a copy?

9 thoughts on “Rowling’s New Book’s Title Released

  1. Yay!!! I will buy it on the day it comes out, and I can’t wait to read it. “Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising” sounds like Jo Rowling’s wonderful writing that I LOVE. I’m really looking forward to it. And, I loved Eric‘s comment, by the way! :-) Wouldn’t that be cool if there were a tie-in with our favorite series?

  2. phoenixsong58,, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find some tie-ins! What’s absolutely certain, though, is that we’ll all be looking for them. :) I’m hoping Arabella will comment, as she made some interesting comparisons in an email which I wanted very much to include but couldn’t wait to ask permission for.

  3. The first two below i saw in the comments at this story link; the reast are mine:

    Barry/Harry…Pagford/Padfoot…small town like Godric’s Hollow or Hogsmead…parish council/Ministry…English idyll/wizarding world “not what it first seems”…social/political conflict. Does the apple fall far from the tree? ;-)

    I will definitely be reading this!

  4. Oh, wow, Arabella! Sounds great. I love that her books are SO British, and I love her humor and her plot twists. Not only do I look forward to reading the book, I also look forward to all the great discussion that I know will happen here. I found this site after all seven of the Harry Potter books were out; this time it will be fun to discuss with all of you brilliant people and fellow fans right after reading. It would be nice if this book were the start of a new series, or if she used the same locale and characters in future books. Actually, whatever or however she writes, I’m sure I will enjoy it.

  5. Hmm …adult novel? I notice on some other sites there’s been chatter about what this means, and I’m looking forward to discovering. An English village setting and personal politics sounds like something in the vein of contemporary Austen perhaps. Perhaps a touch of Anthony Trollope, with a dash of Ian McEwan or Alan Hollinghurst thrown in for good measure. Thought: the setting may be small but I’ll bet the themes will be big. If she can pull off something like the satire in Jane Austen I’m going to love it; and I suspect she can, she has an eye for detail, for character relations, and for the provincial pomposities that make for humour. Haven’t counted the days until publication of a new novel since…well, since Deathly Hallows… but I’ve marked my calendar.

    Jenna I’m not sure there’ll be many tie-ins; my intuitive sense is they’ll be thematic if anything and we will possibly make more of them than is really meant! Part of me wonders if she’ll be trying to break away from the HP”sequel” hopes.

    Arabella I suspect the apple, in falling, will have gained a measure of tartness – dare I suggest this will be more sharp cider than whole apple?

    Phoenix Song I too am looking forward to being here during the conversations that follow. (And I’m not going to read the reviews or press hype/comment/praise/savaging until after I’ve made up my own mind – or at least opened it up to discussion with the intelligent folk here. ) Aberforth had best stock the cellar.

  6. Thanks for the love on my little comment, Jenna and phoenixsong58!

    John Granger speculated on HogPro that we’re likely to see a few sly HP references and inside jokes in the new book, perhaps in the form of a character who derisively mentions a popular series of fantasy novels thought to be “just for kids.” Knowing JKR, I think that’s a pretty fair bet.

    I think it’s interesting that, as Jenna touched on, the novel’s description could work equally well for a lighthearted domestic comedy of manners (analogous to Lark Rise to Candleford, perhaps?), a wicked political satire, or even a horror story with a string of gruesome murders. Though of course the credit for that probably goes to some anonymous hack at the publisher rather than JKR.

  7. When I read the description, I thought it sounded like some kind of murder mystery. I think I’ll buy it the day it comes out, but I sincerely hope it won’t be too much like a Jane Austen novel, because those put me to sleep (even if this sounds like a sacrilege).

    Of course I hope for some black British humor, which I love.

  8. Hmmm…. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if the officious Percy makes a guest appearance in a dark political comedy.

    I find the word “casual” in the title to be intriguing. So nicely understated: “Yes, by the way, there’s this vacancy now…” Yes, I’ll definitely be getting a copy.

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