TCVIt must be summer… I just finished a novel. The novel I chose was the first “adult” novel by J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame: The Casual Vacancy.

Ok, let me get this out of the way first: this book is just about as far a departure from the fantasy of the Potter world as you can imagine. The Casual Vacancy is a sober novel about contemporary English society – a genre I happen to like, in the vein of Nick Hornby or Will Self.

When I first dove into the novel it was on my mind that the author was the creator of the Harry Potter phenomenon and it was a distraction. However, once I got into the story and the well-crafted plot and cast of characters, the book carved out a niche of its own. It is clear that Ms. Rowling is a gifted writer no matter the genre.

About The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling: “When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little 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? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.”

The Casual Vacancy is a story about ordinary people dealing with circumstances in their world – in other words, it’s about Muggles. I do have to say that Ms. Rowling’s seems to delight in writing about the real life of teenagers in this book. The school-aged kids in The Casual Vacancy deal with all the reality you can imagine, from drugs and sex to alienation and bullying – they are most certainly not looking for a magical spell to save wizardry.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling is available from Amazon and other fine retailers.