An ‘adult’ adult novel: a review of The Casual Vacancy

Their reward for enduring the awful experience was the right to tell people about it.

The Casual VacancyMany of us don’t bother with age labels when selecting a book. After all, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is filed under children’s books but engages all types. We like what we like.

While Harry Potter can suit anyone, Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy is designed to target adults — readers who can handle large amounts of mature content. Rowling interprets a literal meaning from the term “adult novel,” writing as crudely as she can by tossing in a great cast of characters that allows her to broach as many issues as possible: adultery, molestation, teen pregnancy, drug addiction, bullying, sexual deviation, homosexuality, physical abuse, depression, racial prejudice, and so on. The list is a long one.

It’s almost like she set out to prove she’s more than a children’s author. She seems to say, “I can be nasty. I can be dirty. I’m not so fragile.”

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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]

Rowling reveals a few details about her upcoming adult novel

Moving from children’s books to adult books is a huge leap, but J.K. Rowling is fearlessly approaching the divide. And good for her—actors aren’t the only ones who can get pigeon-holed by doing too much of the same thing.

Her new book will be here before we know it, too—as early as September 27. She’s been busy.

The author’s new publishing partner, Little, Brown & Co, announced a few details about the book on Thursday. The Casual Vacancy will unfold in an English town called Pagford, opening with the surprising death of a well-liked man.

The adult title will be sold as a traditional hardback, e-book, and an unabridged audio download or CD. An official description is below:

The Casual Vacancy

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.

Rowling also relaunched her website today.