September 27, 2012

The Casual Vacancy

There is a certain kind of book written by a certain kind of author that prompts a certain kind of exasperation: “No matter what I say, fans will buy this, read this, worship this. (Please do not throw bricks at my window.)”
I didn't write that sentence, but I'm glad that Monica Hesse did, since I couldn't have stated it better myself. I loved the Harry Potter series, and I look forward to reading more from J.K. Rowling. In her Harry Potter books, she is adept at telling an adult story through the words of children and adolescents; the language may not be particularly elegant or compelling, but she conveys tone and mood through straightforward prose. As such, I'm excited to read her newest work, The Casual Vacancy, an adult book actually written for adults that was officially released today. The reviews have been lukewarm, which isn't surprising after the Harry Potter phenomenon. A criticism that I've noticed repeatedly is that there are no spells or plucky sidekicks in Vacancy; the characters are real this time, and as such, flaws and cynicism can't be charmed away with a simple wave of the wand. I can't wait to read it.

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