Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released five years ago, ending an adored, epic series that kept devoted fans buried in books for almost ten years. Tomorrow, J.K Rowling's first "adult" novel, The Casual Vacancy, will finally be available. Will the magic and mystery that Rowling fans have come to expect carry over into her first book for grownups?
Cathy Langer, book buyer for the Tattered Cover, has faith that Rowling's newest work will deliver -- even for the Harry Potter fans who've anxiously awaited the release of each book. "Casual Vacancy was embargoed, so I've been as much in the dark about the book as everyone," Langer says, "but J.K Rowling has a wonderful writing style, and her style and gift will translate."
Scholastic, Rowling's publisher for the Harry Potter series, does not publish books for adult audiences, so in February, she signed a deal with Little, Brown. Both the author and the publisher kept the contents of the book a secret -- but in this week's issue of the New Yorker, Rowling opens up and describes her new work as "a rural comedy of manners that, having taken on state-of-the-nation social themes, builds into black melodrama."
The official synopsis describes this seemingly idyllic English village as "a town at war" over the death of a parish council member: "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." The empty seat left after Barry Fairweather dies becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has seen yet, with an election "fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations."
It comes as no surprise that the plot of Rowling's latest is yet another product of an incredibly vibrant imagination. Some eager readers might have an unrealistic expectation of Harry Potter-esque themes, though, and the G-rated, kid-friendly qualities that many fans associate with Rowling. Magic? Sorcery? Probably not -- but maybe we'll see a translation of the same creative abilities into a book for Harry Potter fans who've grown up.
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This morning, reviews are being posted in defiance of the embargo -- but any true J.K Rowling devotees will be camped outside Denver bookstores tonight, waiting to make the final judgment for themselves.