Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

All you need to know about the decade’s biggest book

JK-Rowling.jpg
The-Casual-Vacancy.jpg
JK-Rowling-2.jpg
JK-Rowling-3.jpg

JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy is a huge bestseller but no-one has even read it yet. Stylist examines the author’s first foray into adult literature.

It was the subject of blog posts, newspaper columns and magazine articles before a single journalist in the UK had even seen the front cover in person. Set to eclipse every book sales record in existence, JK Rowling’s first adult-fiction title is arguably one of the biggest career moves in fiction. The Casual Vacancy has been kept so secret, foreign publishers aren’t even allowed copies until its UK release on 27 September. Stylist’s copy will arrive the same day as yours, but here’s our guide to what we know so far about the publishing phenomenon of the decade.

The plot

Set in a country idyll after the sudden death of parish councillor Barry Fairbrother, the story follows the familial fall-out of a close-knit community at war. Pagford is not the sleepy town you think it is, and the tension builds as everyone wonders who will get Fairbrother’s seat. As the election looms, the drama intensifies.

The numbers

Selling 450million books and building a franchise worth an estimated £560million, she was the biggest-selling female author in the UK until EL James knocked her off the top spot. Now, her new release, The Casual Vacancy, has been mentioned on Twitter more than 34,000 times and, despite not being available to buy yet, pre-order sales have bumped it into the Top 20 of Amazon’s hot new releases list.

The cover

You can’t, as the saying goes, judge a book by its cover, and with The Casual Vacancy’s understated design this certainly rings true. However, the man behind it, Mario J Pulice, is one of publishing’s leading names, and has designed book covers for James Patterson, David Foster Wallace and Nelson Mandela.

The critics

"Fans who read Harry Potter as children will be the core audience for this book, without a doubt. I cannot think of an author who is more beloved by her readers." - Diane Roback, children’s book editor of Publisher’s Weekly

"What I find depressing is the amount of attention the Rowling juggernaut will get – attention disproportionate to the quality of her work." - Sameer Rahim, assistant books editor of The Telegraph

"The hype has been extreme but it always is when a high-profile author moves genres; and Rowling is about as high profile as they get. But has she ever disappointed us before?" - Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller

Picture credit: Rex Features

Related

legs-5.jpg

Viva la vagina

SS240812_0246_V1_SV.jpg

Caitlin Moran's new world order

Green-Pasta-with-Blue-Chees.jpg

Nigella cooks tonight's dinner

Comments

More

Margaret Atwood has a new warning about The Handmaid’s Tale

“You think you’re a liberal democracy and then – bang – you’re Hitler’s Germany”

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Feb 2017

JK Rowling humiliates Piers Morgan as he falls into her Twitter trap

Talk about fantastic tweets and where to find them…

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Feb 2017

JK Rowling utterly annihilates Piers Morgan for defending Trump

“The downside of sucking up to the biggest bully in school is getting burned alive”

by Kayleigh Dray
13 Feb 2017

The daily writing routine of best-selling author JoJo Moyes

Coffee, people-watching and Scrabble

by Sarah Biddlecombe
10 Feb 2017

Memoirs and marriage: the new books to perk up February

This month's best new releases

by Sarah Shaffi
10 Feb 2017

Quiz: which feminist literary heroine are you?

Are you a Matilda Wormwood, a Hermione Granger, or someone else completely?

by Kayleigh Dray
09 Feb 2017

Why every woman needs a classic trashy book club

Plus 10 raunchy, retro and ridiculous novels to get you started, as chosen by American Housewife author Helen Ellis.

09 Feb 2017

The ‘real’ Darcy has been revealed – and he's nothing like Colin Firth

The Georgian ideal look is rather different to today's

by Kayleigh Dray
09 Feb 2017

Watch the new trailer for Anne of Green Gables adaptation on Netflix

And Netflix has made one big change to the classic children’s book…

by Kayleigh Dray
09 Feb 2017

The top 10 library reads that British bookworms love to borrow

And the authors we love to borrow, too…

by Kayleigh Dray
06 Feb 2017