J.K. Rowling's first stab at adult literature, "The Casual Vacancy," won't be released until Thursday, but it's already headed to the top of the best seller lists. It's currently at #3 by Amazon and #2 by Barnes & Noble. Not a bad start.
Of course, millions of adults have read Rowling's Harry Potter series, but this will be Rowling's first book aimed squarely at an older market. According to news reports, the 500-plus page book deals with a small town called Pagford, and a local election that exposes the gulf between its middle class and the poor who live nearby. As Ian Parker writes in The New Yorker, "This is a story of class warfare set amid semi-rural poverty, heroin addiction, and teen-age perplexity and sexuality."
As the release date nears, Rowling has opened up for some interviews about her new work and the place it holds in her life.
With the New Yorker, Rowling discussed the larger theme of the book: “In my head, the working title for a long time was ‘Responsible,’ because for me this is a book about responsibility. In the minor sense — how responsible we are for our own personal happiness, and where we find ourselves in life — but in the macro sense also, of course: how responsible we are for the poor, the disadvantaged, other people’s misery.”
She also spoke to the Guardian about the potential impact: "The worst that can happen is that everyone says, 'Well, that was dreadful, she should have stuck to writing for kids' and I can take that. So, yeah, I'll put it out there, and if everyone says, 'Well, that's shockingly bad — back to wizards with you,' then obviously I won't be throwing a party. But I will live. I will live."
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