Rowling’s first novel aimed at adults has leaked early, weeks ahead of its release, with many publications defying an embargo on reviews to lay into the Harry Potter author’s new novel.
After the phenomenal success of the Harry Potter series, much has been expected of the new novel, with some dubbing the book the publishing event of the year. It is set in an English village called Pagford and revolves around a conflict between middle-class neighbours.
The reviews which broke an embargo are pretty mixed, cautiously positive was the Associated Press it is, “not a book that’s easy to fall in love with”, although qualifying that statement with, “But what could have been an unreadable story becomes something else in Rowling’s hands, thanks to her gift of being able to make her characters complex and really, just human.”
More spiteful was the New York Daily News, which seemed to revel in taking down the famous writer, saying: “Rowling has said the worst anyone might say about The Casual Vacancy is that it is ‘dreadful’— and that she ‘should have stuck to writing for kids’: Well, here goes . . . Sorry, JK The Casual Vacancy, which one bookseller breathlessly predicted would be the biggest novel of the year, isn’t dreadful. It’s just dull.” The plot line of the novel had “all the appeal of reading minutes from a planning board,” the newspaper said.
None of the book’s characters were either interesting or likeable, the American paper said in a damning review. Rowling has given only a few select interviews about her new book, which has an initial print run in the US of two million copies. Given the global success of the Harry Potter adventures, its release is being hailed as the publishing event of the year.
Harry Potter may make a comeback
JK Rowling has offered a glimmer of hope to Harry Potter fans by disclosing that she would consider resurrecting the boy wizard if she had a “fabulous” idea. “Now, if I had a fabulous idea that came out of that world — because I loved writing it — I would do it. But I’ve got to have a great idea. I am very adverse to the prequel/sequel scenario.”