The Casual Vacancy migrates to the small screen

J. K. Rowling

I still need to read J. K. Rowling’s new adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, but here’s some good news for those of you who are hopefully awaiting a follow-up of some kind.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced today that it’s turning the book into a TV series, and Rowling will be working “closely” on the project. Huffington Post is already nominating actors for the character roles.

Rowling told U.S.A. Today that she didn’t consider The Casual Vacancy “a very filmable book,” saying, “I think it’s a very novelly novel in that a lot of what goes on happens internally. You need to understand what’s going on inside people’s heads. So even though a lot happens in the novel, part of the appeal of it for me is that so much of it happens in people’s interior life, and film isn’t necessarily the best medium to portray that.”

Television would certainly allot the characters more individual screen time. What do you think? A show could potentially attract a completely different audience than the people who religiously read Harry Potter — a market that The Casual Vacancy seemed to have trouble reaching due to Rowling’s 180-turn in genre.

[Photo credit: Debra Hurford Brown]

6 thoughts on “The Casual Vacancy migrates to the small screen

  1. I have read the book and it would make an interesting series. Watching it would be good as you could see the characters. She uses first names for them, last names for them, puts them in as friends, enemies, families, in their work place and it is really hard to keep track of them for a while. I did one of our mind maps to draw the relationships. So on the screen–all would be clear. They are well developed with good and bad traits. I do not believe she was trying for the Harry Potter audience–although I was one–I was curious about her writing an adult book. It does have a lot of teenagers in it and even though I might not want him to read it, I think my 16 year old grandson would really get into it.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Bonnie! That’s a good critique of the book and why it might work well as a TV show — and I’ll keep that in mind when I pick up the book, too.

      I know Rowling wasn’t writing for her Harry Potter audience, but a lot of people were thrown when she suddenly shifted to an adult novel — and of course, her loyal following of Harry Potter readers were the first in line. Other people, who never got into HP and were maybe turned off by it or children’s books, might not have given it a chance — although I’m sure some of them were intrigued by the idea and bought The Casual Vacancy out of curiosity. But I don’t think it sold as well as it could have for those reasons. It’s just such a major change for her.

      I hope you give your grandson the chance to read it. :) We often want to protect young readers, but no one was ever worse for reading any sort of fiction. We were fine with what we read growing up — even if it was something suspect, like an adult title like The Casual Vacancy. :)

      I remember when I was young and approached my neighbor at her garage sale with a fantasy trilogy she had lying about. She asked me if I was sure that I wanted to buy that one — knowing what I know now, it was because those novels had sexual content that wasn’t suited for young readers. But I survived just fine, and my love of fantasy grew.

      1. I’m fine with him reading it–I just don’t want to be the provider. Just a wierd grandmother thing. The youth in the book have many troubles that he and friends can identify with. I think that it would not be helpful for an already troubled teen. You’ll know what I mean after you read it and am looking forward to your thoughts!

        1. Thanks, Bonnie! I understand completely — it could present a problem, especially if his mother would take issue with him reading it on your recommendation! :) And I get that maybe you aren’t sure whether it would be good or bad for him since you say he’s already troubled. I think that’s what people need sometimes, though — a book that helps them better understand what they’re going through because it has characters they can personally relate to. Even if your grandson never comes across The Casual Vacancy, maybe you could find another young adult/teen book for him to read that would help him feel more comfortable with the things he’s going through? There are plenty out there! And maybe not as questionable.

          1. I didn’t mean that he is troubled. I meant others of his age group. His mom, who worked with me for years is pretty open minded. I teach a lot of teens and think even though it is an “adult” novel it is appropriate for some–but I could see it not being so good for others. It is a very dark book sprinkled with some humor with a darker ending. There are just some things that are better recommended by friends instead of by a grandmother or teacher.

            1. Sorry for misunderstanding! I see your point. Sometimes books recommended by the elders in our lives can have a great impact, though. I know my boyfriend cherishes some science-fiction books given to him by a favorite teacher he once had. But sometimes this advice (in the form of a book) is taken more seriously depending on who gives it to us. It’s always worth a try, though, if you think he would like it. You never know! Especially if his mom is open-minded, then he might be, too.

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