I just finished reading J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. It’s not an easy book to read for the average Harry Potter fan, which partly explains why the book has less than 3 stars on Amazon right now. But I loved it, although it took me some time to get into the story. I started reading not long after the book came out on Sept. 27. I pre-ordered it months ago and it was downloaded automatically to my Kindle after the embargo was lifted 9 days ago.
Rowling uses the 500+ pages of the book for a detailed story about a small rural English town and the secrets of its inhabitants. The peaceful village turns out to be a whole lot less peaceful than you would think. I won’t reveal too much in case you want to read it yourself, just be prepared that this is not a children’s book but adult Literature (with a capital L!).
The novel is currently #1 on the US Bestseller list, but I wonder how Americans will like it. This is a very British book with a different theme than the average US novel. The book actually has quite a socialist undertone: that we should help less privileged people, including drug addicts, is a major theme of the story.
I guess this will be a book that will divide its reviewers, the professional literary critics will like it (there are quite some good reviews out there already), but the average US reader might put it away after 100 pages. But whatever you think of it, I believe this is a book that will have a place in literary history, even if it’s just because of the fact that it’s Rowling’s first adult fiction book after the famous Harry Potter series.