Welcome back to Literary Cobblestones!
For week 3 of J.K. Rowling Appreciation Month, we’re dedicating the entire week to Rowling’s first public release (under the same name) since the end of the Harry Potter series ended — “The Casual Vacancy“. Prior to “Vacancy”, Rowling had published works in the genres of young adult fantasy (HP) and mystery (under a pseudonym), but ‘Vacancy’ was her first attempt at literary fiction.
As every literary scholar can tell you, literary fiction is hard to get right for even the best of writers. The jump from fantasy must’ve been a struggle, but Rowling totally nailed it. “Vacancy” is still one of my favorite novels, and I dare anyone to attempt to make it through without falling in love with it.
Whether you’ve read the novel or its still on your ‘to read’ pile, here are some interesting links to get to know the work better:
The Casual Vacancy Links You Need in Your Life
It’s always nice to read a book review to validate your own feelings, so here’s one from TIME Magazine, written by Lev Grossman: “J.K.Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy: We’ve Read It, Here’s What We Think.” Here’s an excerpt:
What surprised me about The Casual Vacancy was not just how good it was, but the particular way in which it was good. I suppose I’d expected a kind of aged-up, magicked-down Harry Potter, something that showcased the same strengths thePotter books do: meticulous plotting, inventiveness, a love of mischief, likable characters, a knack for visual spectacle.
If you haven’t read “Vacancy” yet, but you want to go full scholar when you do, then check out Book Rags study guide: “The Casual Vacancy Summary & Study Guide“. The guide has everything you need to delve a little deeper in the themes present in the novel as well as a list of discussion questions if you need a little inspiration.
Huge Rowling fan? Then check out NPR’s interview with the novelist right as her story hit the market. You can listen to the interview or read the transcript: “Poverty Informs J.K. Rowling’s New Novel for Adults.” Take a peek inside:
J.K. Rowling has a new novel. She’s moved away from Harry Potter, the boy wizard whose stories prompted millions of kids to obsess over books big enough to serve as doorstops. Having concluded that series, she’s written a novel for grown-ups called The Casual Vacancy, a story of troubled teenagers and their even more troubled parents.