J.K. Rowling's 'Casual Vacancy' reviews are mixed so far

jk-rowling-the-casual-vacancy-reviews.jpg J.K. Rowling, after a decade of crafting the wizarding world in which Harry Potter resides, has gone a different direction with her first post-Potter novel, "The Casual Vacancy." And the reviews so far are mixed.

The Associated Press writes:

"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. They're all unhappy in one way or another, even if the only people who know that are themselves, if that. They can be judgmental, mean, petty and violent. Some are damaged beyond repair. Even the deceased official, in some ways the most positive, moral force in the story, is shown to have hurt his wife with his dedication to his cause that clearly came at her emotional expense.

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."

People says the book is "a tough, ambitious book full of heartbreak and grim social commentary about the smugness of the haves and the desperation of the have-nots ... Rowling has produced a vivid read with great, memorable characters and a truly emotional payoff."

But the New York Times writes, "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. The novel ... reads like an odd mash-up of a dark soap opera like 'Peyton Place' with one of those very British Barbara Pym novels, depicting small-town, circumscribed lives."

"The Casual Vacancy" has already shot up the bestseller charts thanks to pre-orders. Did you buy a copy? Are you planning to?

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