Reuters Reports Various Comments from Newspapers and Critics (UPDATED)


Sep 27, 2012

Posted by Catherine

Reuters has released statements on The Casual Vacancy from various official sources:

“Unfortunately, the real-life world she has limned in these pages is so willfully banal, so depressingly cliched that ‘The Casual Vacancy’ is not only disappointing ” it’s dull.” (New York Times)

“The Casual Vacancy is no masterpiece, but it’s not bad at all: intelligent, workmanlike, and often funny,” said Theo Tait in the Guardian newspaper.

Andrew Losowsky of the Huffington Post website, said Rowling’s foray into adult fiction was worth publishing, but perhaps did not match the giddy anticipation surrounding its release.

“Would this book be published if it weren’t for the name on the cover? Almost certainly. Would anyone pay much attention to it, and its message? Probably not.” (Huffington Post)

“Though some sequences feel a few drafts short of being ready, others are written with a fluency and beauty that suggest that there could be more and better works to come from her pen.” (Huffington Post)

In The Independent newspaper, Boyd Tonkin believed Rowling was at her best when describing the younger characters.

“The teens of Winterdown belong in a bolder, richer book than some of the parental caricatures,” he said. “All the social and hormonal turbulence that the later Potter volumes had to veil in the euphemisms of fantasy appear in plain sight here.” (The Independent)

The conservative Daily Telegraph broadsheet took umbrage at Rowling’s skewering of the middle class.

“While Rowling gives due respect to the poorer, damaged characters, higher up the social scale she is busy carving grotesques,” wrote Allison Pearson in a three-star review. (The Daily Telegraph)

The rest of the article can be read here.

UPDATE: Washington Post captured a few more reviews:

The Washington Post:

“In this one 500-page book, Rowling re-traverses the Potter series’ entire tonal journey: a gradual darkening in which snide comments on small stakes give way to sharp commentary on big ones. The election unearths tensions. The tensions ruin lives. No amount of Reparo spells can undo the things that are done; we’re not in Hogwarts anymore.”

The Associated Press:

“This isn’t a book that’s easy to fall in love with, the way Harry Potter was with its charming, winning hero and his plucky friends, saving the world from evil with the help of a powerful spell or two. Even with its moments of humor, it’s a hard story where some people just don’t get saved, because really, they never had a chance.”

The LA Times:

“Rowling clearly knows how to create a universe that’s compelling, consuming even, but Pagford is no such place. Rather, it is little more than a backdrop, a stage set, its lack of depth an emblem of Rowling’s inability to engage us, to invest us sufficiently in her characters, young or otherwise, to reckon with the contrivances of her fictional world.”

New York Daily News:

“Rowling’s strength was never her prose. It was her ability to create unforgettable characters and weave stories that held us captive. The magic simply isn’t there in ˜The Casual Vacancy.’ Indeed, the spell has been broken.”

Entertainment Weekly:

“Rowling does a nice job laying out her 20-plus characters’ endless pretensions and weaknesses, which she punctures with gleeful flicks of a surprisingly sharp comic blade.”

People Magazine:

“Rowling captures the humanity in everyone, even if that humanity is not always a pretty sight. And ’ though creating Harry Potter was more than enough ’ if Rowling wants to convince the world that she can cast other spells, she has succeeded.”

Publisher’s Weekly:

“As in the Harry Potter books, children make mistakes and join together with a common cause, accompanied here by adults, some malicious, some trying yet failing. Minus the magic, though, good and evil are depressingly human, and while the characters are all well drawn and believable, they aren’t much fun.”

10 Responses to Reuters Reports Various Comments from Newspapers and Critics (UPDATED)

Avatar ImageLunaLuver says: Wow, those reviews say it all I guess. Her standards were always going to be held to Harry Potter, and if she couldnt keep the same level of quality, she should not have published The Casual Vacency.Avatar ImageDiamondWings says: Oh wow... They punch this hard =S It was obviously going to be different than Potter and in my opinion, her way to escape from it a bit. But this reviews don't encourage much to give it a try =/Avatar ImageLillylove says: I am only one section into the book & I am loving it. It is very adult & very unlike Harry Potter. But like in HP, her character descriptions are amazing. I love her writing style. This book is blatent & heavy - it tells a very different story. I encourage people not to dismiss it based on reviews. Give it a whirl & judge for yourself.Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: I am sure we all knew going in that whatever Jo writes will always be compared to the Potter series... A tough benchmark to live up to.Avatar Imagekamion999 says: I think it stands up to the HP story, but I wished she had chosen for the formula in which one follows the thoughts and acts on one maincharacter. now it is very hard to rely to the host of figures of which only the dead guy is nice.Avatar ImageBeazle says: I have now finished this trashy, foul mouthed book. It is full of cliches and 1970s outdated generalisations. As ever- heavy on the adverbs but the plot is so predictable as to be almost laughably inept. It is not a pleasant experience to read this book. So, so disappointing on a number of levels.Avatar ImageBeazle says: I have now finished this trashy, foul mouthed book. It is full of cliches and 1970s outdated generalisations. As ever- heavy on the adverbs but the plot is so predictable as to be almost laughably inept. It is not a pleasant experience to read this book. So, so disappointing on a number of levels.Avatar ImageG.Weasley says: I am seeing this again and again and again. What is it with everyone and the problem with swearing! I hear people swear all the time every day, I don't see the big deal. I once read a young adult novel titled Betwixt and throughout that entire book there was not one page that didn't have a swear in it. I will have my own opinion on the book though once I read it.Avatar ImageMad But Happy says: I just finished the book, and I quite enjoyed it. I thought it was well written, and I was very interested in the characters/plot. I'm not going to bother comparing it to HP, because she would be hard-pressed to ever top that. lol It touches on many dark aspects of human culture, so it's certainly not for children. The ending isn't horribly cheerful, either. I would give it 4/5 stars. Give it a try!Avatar ImageRavenclaw78 says: I've not finished the book yet, and I have no problem with swearing (as I can rival any sailor! LOL!) but it seems like a lot of the four-letter-words are just thrown in there because they could be, not because they added any sense of realness to the story. Honestly, I am struggling to get through the book. I knew it would be different & I read other genres of books aside from fantasy, but this is not my favorite, by any stretch of the imagination.

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