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.