The Washington Post

J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel: ‘The Casual Vacancy’

Author J. K. Rowling signs a copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in New Orleans. (Bill Haber/AP)

The book, with a publication date of Sept. 27, promises to be very different from the world of young wizards. It’s an examination of small-town politics. The novel takes place in the fictional town of Pagford, an “English idyll” where not everything is as it seems. When one resident unexpectedly dies, his vacant seat on the parish council causes “the biggest war the town has yet seen.”

Here’s the full description from publisher Little, Brown:

The Casual Vacancy

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils...Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.


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Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts.


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