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September 27, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
The Lifetime Achievement Award-winning writer often describes her seven Harry Potter books as “real literature works.” Readers wondering whether she stays true to her melodramatic plotlines can look to her interview last week with The New Yorker for hints. Rowling said that the new book’s content will be far more R-rated than anything seen or done by the bespectacled boy wizard.
The Casual Vacancy tells the darkly comedic tale of Barry Fairbrother’s unexpected death. A parish councilman and prominent member of his community, Fairchild leaves behind a big hole in the tiny town of Pagford. Whoever fills his council seat will cast the deciding vote on whether to rid the village of its rural ghetto.
Upon his passing, the residents break into the greatest war their village has ever seen. As the streets erupt in chaos and confusion, only one thing is certain: Pagford has as many secrets as Hogwarts and Albus Dumbledore put together.
Despite the vague plot teasers, Rowling fans have discussed the novel in other ways, including a critique of its cover design. Expectant fans were struck by the cover’s simplicity. Some loved it for its charm while others were disappointed it didn’t drop more hints about the story.
Another concern roiling in the international media tide was the fear of pirated editions being leaked — a threat common with her Potter releases.
According to The Guardian, Rowling’s agency refused to give advanced copies to what are considered high-risk piracy territories, such as Italy, Finland and Slovenia. Other countries such as France and Germany will be granted earlier access, enabling them to begin translating sooner.
Despite the news releases and online discussions in its journey to print, the novel is being met with more excitement than skepticism, and the creator of spellbinding tales has finally broken her five-year literary drought.