If you clicked on this article looking for new facts about J.K. Rowling’s newest book, you will find none here. In fact, you won’t find them anywhere. (Don’t even bother going to Rowling’s agent’s website, which has a picture of the book’s “cover” that’s not so much helpful as it is intellectually insulting.) Rather, brace yourself for some blatant speculation from an excited Rowling fan regarding the announcement of her upcoming publication — an adult book with no title, no publication date, and presumably nothing else remotely substantial on which we can hypothesize.
Essentially, we know absolutely nothing, but we’ll always have the greatest weapon at our disposal: IMAGINATION. Check your cool caps at the door, guys — it’s time to do some imagining. We’ve given it some thought and have a few conjectures as to where this mysterious new book may be heading.
Crime thriller: My colleague Stephan Lee (arguably the Head Boy of EW’s books department) suggested our first stop: the crime genre. The Guardian surmised that the involvement of one David Shelly, the book editor of Rowling’s enigmatic project, may signal that a crime whodunit is in the works. Shelley comes from a vivid background of crime and thriller publishing, and given Rowling’s propensity for a good mystery, it wouldn’t be that much of a departure from her talent. She could simply swap out supernatural Harry Potter words with gritty, real-world nouns, like “triple homicide” instead of “wizard’s duel” and “rapist” instead of “Hippogriff.”
Political fairy tale: Rowling told ABC News in 2009 that the next project she would probably finish would be a “political fairy tale” for “slightly younger children.” It’s been confirmed that her new book is for adults, but we can still speculate that perhaps Rowling began with toddler pundits in mind and ended up penning a grown-up government fable. If so, she’ll both create and capture the market for this genre with one fell swoop (along with Stephen Colbert). I guess that means I should just stop working on my own political fairy tale, If You Give a Mitt a Cookie.
Harry Potter encyclopedia: One of the few things we know about this new tome is that it’s “very different” from Harry… but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be related to Harry, right? I mean, Emilio Estevez is very different from Charlie Sheen. An encyclopedia, by nature, doesn’t get kids jumping for joy, metaphorically or physically, so it must mean that it’s for adults, right? And maybe the “freedom to explore new territory” really just means the reference section! Look at me. I’m like Hermione over here. I’m on to you, Joanne Kathleen, you sneaky, wordsmithing goddess.
ShelfLifers, now it’s time to hear from you. What do your wildest dreams tell you this new book will be about? What do your most restricted notions of awful, logic-based reality tell you? What would you like to see Rowling tackle?