J.K. Rowling’s First Adult Novel Gets a Title, Release Date, and Synopsis

by     Posted 2 years, 159 days ago

jk-rowling-The Casual Vacancy slice

J.K. Rowling‘s highly-anticipated follow-up to the Harry Potter series finally has a title, release date, and synopsis.  Rowling’s first adult novel will be entitled The Casual Vacancy and is set to hit bookshelves (and presumably e-books) on September 27th.  The book will be Rowling’s first novel since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released in 2007.  Hit the jump for the synopsis.

jk-rowling-The Casual VacancyThe book’s publisher, Little, Brown, released this synopsis to The Wall Street Journal:

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

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.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Sooooo…no polyjuice potions.

Aside from the obvious difference in terms of the plot, it also looks like Rowling has changed up her plot structure.  While the events of Harry Potter were seen almost entirely from Harry’s point-of-view, The Casual Vacancy doesn’t seem like it has a single protagonist.

The Casual Vacancy may not have Rowling’s beloved characters, but it’s worth noting that Rowling’s writing grew by leaps and bounds over the course of writing Harry Potter.  It may be a radical departure from the adventures of the Boy Who Lived, but that’s mostly why I’m so excited for her next novel.

jk-rowling-The Casual Vacancy




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  • AlexHeyNa

    I want Jo to be the next Tolkien; to write all of her books and stories based on the world she created. But for some reason she doesn’t want to do that. She’s created this vast world that everyone loves and cherishes, but she doesn’t seem eager to explore it anymore. And that upsets me.

    That being said, I am glad she’s writing SOMETHING. I love the Harry Potter series more than anything I’ve ever read, so I doubt this book will stack up to it. But it’s still worth the read, I guess.

    • O.R.

      The difference between Tolkien and Rowling is that his stories were about Middle-Earth and the many characters that lived there, while hers are about a single character who lives in a special world. The focus of both stories is different. Rowling never meant to write about the Wizarding World, she wrote about Harry Potter, and his story is now over.

      • daveyboy

        No, the difference between Tolkien and Rowling is that Tolkien wrote literary masterpieces that are some of the best books of all time,and Rowling wrote some halfway decent kids books that happen to get very popular. The only similarities between the two is that they both wrote fantasy novels that got turned into billion dollar movie franchises. That is where the comparisons stop. Cmon…you just sound stupid putting Rowling on the same level as Tolkien….that’s like comparing John Grisham to Dostoevsky.

      • daveyboy

        That being said,Rowling did get an entire generation of kids to actually read books(long ones at that) in an era where kids simply dont read anymore. I have to give her some respect for that.

      • Johnson

        nice try, davey, you stuck up snob, it’s idiots like you that make me ashamed to be a LotR fan; if you don’t mind – HP and LotR are EQUALLY and extremely good – both the books and the films…

      • Van Iblis

        LOLOL @ calling JK & Tolkien “equally talented.”

  • Pants

    Sooooo it’s Hot Fuzz minus all the awesomeness of Frost and Pegg?

    • ScottX

      They should put your comment in the cover of the book.

  • Bruce Harrington

    So based in the world of Hot Fuzz, minus the action? What are the steaks, what can be lost? An election that would just change a small town. Kind of a step down from the eradication of a world.

    I’d hardly consider Potter purely for children. She brought real depth and emotion to a fictional world, offering her characters true adult situations. Potter spans generational gaps and that is what made it a classic tale.

    All in all, I agree with sir AlexHeyNa here. I would like to see her expand her world, to let her child grow. Maybe the future will offer hope there.

  • ozzie

    Harry Potter has been her world for like 15 years … give her a break people … (insert random harry potter reference here)

  • Seekerbolt713

    Everybody actually wants her to be the next George Lucas? I guess the philosophy then is that eveyrone loves a property to death (literally).

    It’s not that I don’t want Harry Potter to live on forever. I just want it to live in the sense that its legacy passes down untarnished to the next generation of readers. Besides, the Wizarding World worked because there was a villain who shined a spotlight on the social issues Rowling addressed in her work, big ideas that work when they run through the backdrop of a large society that are *kept in the background*. Bringing the everyday, small-potatoes aspects of the Wizarding World would be like saying “Here’s this book I wrote about my dog going for a walk *after* he saved me from dying in the well that was collapsing and happened to be on fire.”

    And, more important, if Rowling’s tired of playing in that sandbox, she shouldn’t be in it anymore, or for a while. Better that she cash in on all the literary potential she showed us than make a half-assed journey through our childhoods.

  • BeenBag

    The Harry Potter books were an over hyped phenomenon. The thing is, JKR is not a very good writer. I give her 5 years before she pulls an Anne Rice and goes back to her cash cow.

    • SaschaD

      That maybe so but she’s a damn good business woman at least. And as long as people enjoy the characters (personally not a fan), who gives a shit that you think she isn’t a good writer? She’s literally laughing at you all the way to her many Banks….

    • Andrew

      I’ve always believed the Harry Potter books to be more a triumph of imagination than literature. That being said, what a triumph it is. Few books have ever pulled me in as forcefully as the Harry Potter series. One day last year I was thumbing through the final book to read a certain part and before I knew it I had read through the end. They may not have the same literary depth as Tolkein’s books, but they shouldn’t be so easily dismissed.

  • Singularity

    As opposed to a more formal vacancy.

  • Strong Enough

    boring…..

    All you Need is Kill is a plot worth reading

    BRING ON THE ROBOTS!

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