In September, J.K. Rowling will see her first adult fiction title appear on shelves everywhere. There is wide anticipation of this book and people are speculating whether or not it will command the same type of following as her Harry Potter series. I’m sure she’s quivering in her expensive boots at the thought, but at the same time, maybe she’s not even worried. What will it matter if it’s a smashing success or a tremendous failure? She probably won’t ever have to worry about money, so it’s more of a personal reflection at stake. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
At the heart of THE CASUAL VACANCY is a st0ry about a small town election, but it’s much more than that. When one of Pagford’s local Councillors dies unexpectedly, many secrets about the town are revealed. It’s not the calm, sweet little English village everyone thought it was and the election is fraught with drama.
But it’s not the story people are already talking about. It’s the book cover, to start with. Some people love it, some hate it. The general thought is that the publishers decided to get as far away from the Harry Potter cover designs as possible, going for something bright and simple. Others are saying they didn’t put enough thought into the cover, that it looks like someone designed it at the last minute, or that it was so plain no one would mistake it for a best-seller.
Maybe that’s what Rowling intended. While authors usually don’t have much say in what their book covers will look like (it’s all up to the publisher’s design house), Rowling has earned a different distinction. It allows readers to make up their own minds about the story and doesn’t influence how they feel about a book before they’ve even read it. Whatever the reasons behind it, this book is going to be dissected at every turn. I hope Rowling has developed a thick skin because even though she has mad writing skills, she has big expectations to live up to.
After all is said and done, I hope people give this book the chance it deserves, whether it is good or not. It should be judged on its merits alone. I’ll probably read it, just out of curiosity….will you?