Readersforum's Blog

September 27, 2012

JK Rowling: The Casual Vacancy – review

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 8:24 am

The author’s first book for adults features drugs, sex and swearing – things that Harry Potter probably never dreamed of.

By Theo Tait

They call it “denial marketing”: the process whereby the contents of JK Rowling’s books are guarded like the crown jewels until publication day. It made sense with Harry Potter, when the world and his dog wanted to know what had happened to the boy wizard and his dastardly foes. But it creates a slight anti-climax in the case of The Casual Vacancy, a novel concerning a parish council election in a small West Country town.

There are some superficial excitements here, in that the younger characters get up to things that Harry probably never dreamed of: taking drugs, swearing, self-harming, having grimy casual sex, singing along to Rihanna. The new book contains regular outbursts of four-letter words, along with the memorable phrase “that miraculously unguarded vagina” – which, leaked in a pre-publication profile, has caused a flurry of jokes on Twitter about Harry Potter and the Miraculously Unguarded Vagina.

Generally, though, The Casual Vacancy is a solid, traditional and determinedly unadventurous English novel.

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