Review: J.K. Rowling's first adult novel, 'The Casual Vacancy,' revolves around contentious families

With her seven Harry Potter books, author J.K. Rowling made millions of kids (and grown-ups) wish they lived at Hogwarts.
In 2007 "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" completed the series that transformed the children's book industry, sold 450 million copies worldwide and spawned movies, theme parks, websites and more, making Rowling a billionaire. When "The Casual Vacancy," Rowling's first novel in five years was published late last month, pre-orders of the book had it ranked No. 1 on Amazon.
"The Casual Vacancy" is a fine and fascinating read, but it is not for children, and it will most emphatically not make you want to live in Pagford, the quaint little town in the English countryside where the tale is set. No Quidditch here; this is a world where Facebook and Rihanna's Umbrella play roles.
The plot kicks off when Barry Fairbrother, a member of Pagford's parish council, drops dead of an aneurysm in a parking lot on his anniversary. His death leaves a "casual vacancy" on the council, and the campaign for the spot proves the old truism, applied to everything from academic departments to condo boards: that power struggles are most vicious when there is the least at stake. Read more

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