Some people love it, some people hate it, but it’s no surprise that all the reviews I’ve seen of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, the author's first novel for adults, compare it with her Harry Potter books. (Apparently the new book has no magic, unlikeable characters, lots of bad language, explicit sex and violence.)
It would have to be a very remarkable book indeed to match the success of the Harry Potter series but, because of the name on the cover, The Casual Vacancy is destined to become a bestseller no matter what its literary merits. But I wonder how many people will buy a copy and be disappointed only because it is so different from HP.
I understand why J.K. Rowling wanted to write an adult novel. The excitement and challenge of creative writing is – or should be – all about experimenting with new subjects, different forms and styles. But as she is never going to be able to escape the ‘Creator of Harry Potter’ label, do you think she should have:
a) stuck to what she knows is a winning formula
b) published The Casual Vacancy under a pseudonym
c) written an adult novel featuring a grown-up Harry Potter
d) announced her retirement from writing