This is no April Fools’ joke. On April 1, Harry Potter fansite Mugglenet announced as a prank that the next book by J.K. Rowling would be titled Lairs of Lady Po. Today, Little, Brown released the actual, less whimsical name — The Casual Vacancy — along with other key details.
Rowling’s new novel, which is geared toward adult readers, will be available worldwide on Sept. 27. It begins when the sudden death of a well-liked man rocks the “seemingly idyllic” town of Pagford, England. Beneath its pleasant facade, Pagford is actually a “town at war,” roiled by class conflicts — rich people at odds with the poor — and in-fighting within families. The publisher described the tone of the book as “darkly comic.”
The details we have so far seem to be in line with our earlier predictions that the new book would center on a crime and deal with social issues. Even though it appears to be a complete departure from Harry Potter, the brief synopsis of The Casual Vacancy is only making me more excited for Rowling’s first non-wizarding novel. She’s a master at making you adore some characters and despise others, and it sounds as though the premise is rich for a showdown of good, evil, and the gray area in-between.
What do you think of the new title? And the premise? Do you think it has any shot at matching the popularity of Harry Potter?
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