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

This bookshop prints your novel in the time it takes to drink a coffee

Paris's iconic Librairie des Puf is revolutionising how we buy books by Moya Crockett

15 Jun 2016

Kathy Lette: “Emily Brontë taught me what I really wanted in bed”

“After years of loveless sex, Wuthering Heights opened my eyes to true romance”

14 Jun 2016

Lucy Mangan explores our enduring love of Roald Dahl

“Once upon a time…” by Lucy Mangan

13 Jun 2016

Illustrator imagines what The Baby-Sitters Club crew are up to now

Introducing The Jaded Quitters Club by Helen Brown

13 Jun 2016

Spending 20 minutes with this app could boost your career

Hack your commute by Helen Brown

10 Jun 2016

Stylist meets Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Lisa McInerney

On women-only prizes, being selfish and writing advice

09 Jun 2016

Stylist’s bets for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

Place your bets now by The Stylist web team

07 Jun 2016

JK Rowling hits back at "racists” unhappy with casting of Hermione

“Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm” by Sarah Biddlecombe

06 Jun 2016

Jojo Moyes on the portrayal of disability in Me Before You

Author tackles controversy by Harriet Hall

02 Jun 2016

The most captivating new reads of June

From tales of lifelong friendship to families torn apart by Cathy Rentzenbrink

02 Jun 2016