Thursday, September 27, 2012


Today is the international release date of J.K Rowling's new book, The Casual Vacancy!

While I haven't gotten my hands on it just yet, first reviews are in, and as we have been told repeatedly, This. Is. Not. A. Children's. Book.  According to The Herald SunEarly reviews of the book have described it as "no masterpiece", suggesting that Rowling has gone from "Potter to potty-mouth" in profanity-laden excess.  While some have praised the "emotion" in the novel and the author's ability to make her characters complex and human, others have criticised it as "dull" and drowning in misery.

Here is what the critics had to say:

The Guardian:
Theo Tait writes: "The Casual Vacancy is no masterpiece, but it's not bad at all: intelligent, workmanlike, and often funny. I could imagine it doing well without any association to the Rowling brand, perhaps creeping into the Richard and Judy Book Club, or being made into a three-part TV serial. The fanbase may find it a bit sour, as it lacks the Harry Potter books' warmth and charm; all the characters are fairly horrible or suicidally miserable or dead. But the worst you could say about it, really, is that it doesn't deserve the media frenzy surrounding it."

The Telegraph UK:
Allison Pearson writes: "The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling’s first adult novel, is sometimes funny, often startlingly well observed, and full of cruelty and despair. One teenager cuts herself to relieve her misery, another commits suicide. Online pornography is described in gynaecological detail. JK Rowling bewilders her fans with an uneven, often harrowing book. Three stars."

The New York Times:
Sherryl Connelly writes: "J .K. Rowling has gone from Potter to potty-mouth. She shows herself proficient at tossing out the F-word ... Most of the language she uses to describe the naughty surfing is so dirty that we can’t repeat it in a family newspaper. The Casual Vacancy, which one bookseller breathlessly predicted would be the biggest novel of the year, isn’t dreadful. It’s just dull. Rowling’s strength was never her prose. It was her ability to create unforgettable characters and weave stories that held us captive. The magic simply isn’t there in “The Casual Vacancy.”

The New Yorker:
Ian Parker writes: The Casual Vacancy will certainly sell, and it may also be liked. But whereas Rowling’s shepherding of readers was, in the Harry Potter series, an essential asset, in “The Casual Vacancy” her firm hand can feel constraining. She leaves little space for the peripheral or the ambiguous; hidden secrets are labelled as hidden secrets, and events are easy to predict. We seem to watch people move around Pagford as if they were on Harry’s magical parchment map of Hogwarts.

The Associated Press:
Deepti Hajela writes: ”This is not a book that’s easy to fall in love with, the way Harry Potter was with its charming, winning hero and his plucky friends, saving the world from evil with the help of a powerful spell or two. Even with its moments of humor, it’s a hard story where some people just don’t get saved, because really, they never had a chance. It’s filled with often-unlikeable people, some of whom cross the line into terrible. They’re all unhappy in one way or another, even if the only people who know that are themselves, if that. They can be judgmental, mean, petty and violent. Some are damaged beyond repair.” The Associated Press.

Fans are eager to read this new chapter of Rowling's career, and The Casual Vacancy is already in the coveted number one spot in various stores.  But be warned, do not come looking for Harry Potter magic in these pages - it is apparent that you will not find it.  So, the book does not appear to be a hit amongst critics, but the only way to discover if they have the right of it, is to read the book yourself.  I certainly will.   

No comments:

Post a Comment

Follow by Email




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...