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JK Rowling’s adult novel due in Sept

books Updated: Apr 14, 2012 13:51 IST

Richa Gupta, Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Harry Potter junkies can look forward to starting afresh as JK Rowling finally discloses details about her much-awaited foray into adult fiction, The Casual Vacancy (TCV). The 480-page book will be published worldwide on September 27 by the Little, Brown Book Group of Hachette Co. Earlier this year, it was reported that the novel would be a crime or mystery story, but now Rowling promises a “thought-provoking” black comedy.

“There is a tremendous amount of excitement the world over since TCV is Rowling’s first stand-alone adult novel and she’s writing after a gap of five years,” says Thomas Abraham, MD, Hachette India. “Since this is an adult book, it won’t have the frenzy that drove the last three Potter books, but there will certainly be excitement as befits the world’s greatest storyteller. We are planning several promotional activities.” Though Abraham did not comment on the number of copies the company plans to distribute in India, he did say that TCV will be the biggest book of 2012.

Fans are curious to see how Rowling deals with a genre so different from that of the best-selling Harry Potter novels. Aditi Bhowmick, 18, says, “I will definitely buy The Casual Vacancy, but simply because it’s JKR. I feel that the book will be accepted better if it isn’t related to Harry Potter, otherwise only die-hard Potter fans will read it.” Mriganki Nagpal, 22, feels that the book will sell well because JKR’s Harry Potter readers are now themselves nearly adults. She says, “I was 13 when I started reading Harry Potter, and have grown up with it, so it’s part nostalgia and part curiosity that’s making me eager for TCV. I’m waiting to see how JKR deals with adult fiction.”

What’s the plot? The story is set in Pagford, an idyllic English town that is ultimately revealed to be a sinister place. Barry Fairweather is a popular man in his forties and has a seat in the parish council. His unexpected death shocks the town and launches a terrible war over his vacant seat. The resulting election is fraught with ‘passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations’.