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'The Casual Vacancy'

First book since the Harry Potter Series

By Leah Coffman
On October 1, 2012

  • Leah LeDuc, interior design emphasis, rehearses Bob Dylan's Make You Feel My Love with Jazz Combo I. Dallas Wilcox


In the five years since the final book in the Harry Potter series was released, author JK Rowling has stayed out of the spotlight. While she has released a companion book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, The Casual Vacancy, at 512 pages, will be her first full-scale novel since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The book will be released simultaneously in hardcover, e-book and audio-book formats on Sept. 27. 

The novel is a serious departure from the much-loved children's series. While the Harry Potter series dealt with fantasy, the new novel is set in a modern English village. According to the publisher, Little Brown UK.

"When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the 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?" 

As different as this tale may be from the famous children's series, Rowling commented to The New Yorkerthat, "there isa through-line...mortality, morality, the two things I obsess about."  The author's comments on the novel illustrate that while this is a fully different style of novel, there is still a common thread to be found for those who grew up with Harry Potter. 

Indeed, several Kirkwood Community College students commented on their interest in reading something so different from the famed author.  "I think it will be interesting to see the differences in her writing style in the more adult-themed novel," said Megan Pisisarik, pre-engineering emphasis. 

Bailey Davison, vet assistant emphasis, agreed. "I'm kind of curious to see how she writes adult material," adding, "I am going to go get it as soon as I have time. That might be the day it comes out." 

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