Initial reviews for J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy have been mixed, with many reviews being less positive than one would expect from a novel by the author of the popular Harry Potter series. Excerpts from reviews follow past the break.
Emma Lee-Potter of the Daily Express said,
“The Casual Vacancy features scenes that would make Harry Potter blush and it definitely isn’t for children.
“The book isn’t flawless. Her writing style is direct and uncomplicated rather than literary and she has an annoying habit of shoving slabs of explanatory detail into brackets.
“Some readers will be shocked at Rowling’s departure from wizardry and magic, but The Casual Vacancy is a highly readable morality tale for our times.”
New York Times writer Michiko Kakutani was not as positive in his review of the book, stating,
“There is no magic in this book in terms of wizarding or in terms of narrative sorcery. Instead, this novel for adults is filled with a variety of people like Harry’s aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley: self-absorbed, small-minded, snobbish and judgmental folks, whose stories neither engage nor transport us.
“The real-life world she has limned in these pages is so willfully banal, so depressingly clichéd that The Casual Vacancy is not only disappointing – it’s dull.
“Characters are drawn in brisk, broad strokes, and with little of the complex ambiguity that fueled the later Harry Potter instalments. In fact, there is a vacancy deep in the heart of this novel.”
Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela said of the novel,
“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. …
“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.”
What are your thoughts on The Casual Vacancy? Leave your thoughts in the comments section down below.
Sources: BBC News, The Associated Press
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