Tag Archives: New Rowling Book

Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy” Released Today

It’s official: Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy can be picked up from your local bookstore or downloaded onto your ereader! If you beat Travis to finishing the book, feel free to express your thoughts below.

To tide you over till our Chief Warlock of the Blogengamot can post, here are a few more reviews: Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times claims that “There is no magic in this book–in terms of wizarding or in terms of narrative sorcery” (thanks to commenter Charlie for the news), but Theo Tait over at The Guardian points out that the book “…is no masterpiece, but it’s not bad at all: intelligent, workmanlike, and often funny.”

Alison Pearson at The Telegraph is concerned about young readers:

When an interviewer from The New Yorker put it to Rowling that there might be strong objections to the idea of young Harry Potter readers being drawn into such material she replied coolly: “There is no part of me that feels that I represented myself as your children’s babysitter or their teacher… I’m a writer and I will write what I want to write.”

If you have sold 450 million books, mainly to children, and you have achieved a net worth of £560 million, often from the pocket and birthday money of children, then you may not consider yourself to be their babysitter, or their teacher, but you were certainly their bedtime reading, and they will be helplessly drawn back to your voice. For my kids, and for a billion others, Rowling is a household goddess, the teller of a tale that not only spanned but defined their childhoods.

Meanwhile, Rob Brunner at Entertainment Weekly, though admitting the novel falls apart at the end, claims that:

Rowling does a nice job laying out her 20-plus characters’ endless pretensions and weaknesses, which she punctures with gleeful flicks of a surprisingly sharp comic blade.

In related news, if you can come up with the millions (and they’d better not be leprechaun gold), you can buy Rowling’s old home in Edinburgh. I’m guessing that most of us don’t have access to that many Galleons, but we can all look at the beautiful pictures of the place. It’s quite lovely. Thanks to R. Ross for the link.

Rowling News and Interviews

Time to gather some of the latest leading pieces about Rowling, most of them surrounding the release of her new novel, The Casual Vacancy. If I missed anything, do link it in the comments!

Alongside Ian Parker’s NYT piece, linked here a couple of days ago, Rowling gave out two other major interviews with advance review copies. The first was with Decca Aitkenhead from The Guardian; Ms. Aitkenhead is clearly more of a fan than Mr. Parker, and wrote an enthusiastic piece. The other was with Carol Memmott of USA Today, and it’s also an enjoyable read; more restrained reporting than the other two, less editorial commentary.

Other reviews are starting to surface. The Associated Press has one which has landed on several news sites. Christopher Brookmyre of The Telegraph suggests British Conservative party leader David Cameron ought to avoid the book “as he is unlikely to enjoy seeing his notion of the “Big Society” being so savagely eviscerated.” Sherryl Connelly at the New York Daily News said it “…isn’t dreadful. It’s just dull” and complained of apparently intense amounts of sex and profanity.

As Rowling’s current news doesn’t get mention without reference to the Potter legacy, MSNBC has picked up on a comment suggesting Rowling may write more books set in the Wizarding World. And Blastr’s Nathalie Caron notes Rowling’s suggestion that she’d like to do a ‘director’s cut’ edit on a couple of the books.

Happy reading!

The New Yorker Interviews Rowling, Reviews “The Casual Vacancy”

With Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy just a few days away from the reader, Ian Parker of The New Yorker has posted a lengthy feature on Rowling and her upcoming book. Among the interesting thoughts therein:

…reviewers looking for echoes of the Harry Potter series will find them. “The Casual Vacancy” describes young people coming of age in a place divided by warring factions, and the deceased council member, Barry Fairbrother—who dies in the first chapter but remains the story’s moral center—had the same virtues, in his world, that Harry had in his: tolerance, constancy, a willingness to act.

“I think there is a through-line,” Rowling said. “Mortality, morality, the two things that I obsess about.”

Parker, of course, talks about the differences, too; notably a much–read MUCH–more adult feel to the book, and–well, as Rowling put it, “It’s been billed, slightly, as a black comedy, but to me it’s more of a comic tragedy.” Likewise, as we’ve all prognosticated, we can expect some politics:

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Cover Reveal for New Rowling Book

The cover!

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Little, Brown has the details; not a lot that we haven’t heard already. But the cover’s interesting, at least in that it’s entirely cryptic. It gives us nothing but the marked check box of a ballot and the title and author name. Also, the red and gold is much more suggestive of alchemy than of a gossipy, petty-warring little town in England.


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?

Egg Rowling and This is Spinal Tap

As Johnny reported yesterday, J.K. Rowling did a reading of the first Harry Potter book at yesterday’s White House Easter Egg Roll. The Leaky Cauldron has a thorough report, including the following interesting and odd tidbits:

  • Part of the inspiration for a new DADA teacher every year was the rotating drummer from This is Spinal Tap. (Um … what?)
  • J.K. Rowling is working on something which we will have in the “not too distant future.” All we know is it’s not Potter.
  • Her favorite subject to write about was Charms.

Read the rest here.

Update – Video: