LONDON – British bookshops opened their doors early Thursday and some grown-up Harry Potter fans lined up overnight as J.K. Rowling launched her long-anticipated first book for adults, The Casual Vacancy.
The lines were shorter and the wizard costumes missing, but the book was published to some of the same fanfare that greeted each Potter tome, with stores wheeling out crates of the books precisely at 8 a.m. as part of a finely honed marketing strategy.
Published five years after the release of the last book in the boy wizard saga, The Casual Vacancy is already at No. 1 on Amazons U.S. chart.
Reviews have been mixed. The Associated Press judged it a challenging but rewarding read full of emotion and heart.
The New York Times influential critic, Michiko Kakutani, was damning.
The real-life world she has limned in these pages is so willfully banal, so depressingly clichéd that The Casual Vacancy is not only disappointing – its dull, she said.