Harry Potter outshines the harshness of The Casual Vacancy

I’ve just read J.K. Rowling’s ‘The Casual Vacancy’ and admit that I was quite disturbed having forced myself through its pages.

It seems that I’m not the only one, given the number of readers who haven’t finished the book. Makes one think of Stephen Hawking‘s ‘A Brief History of Time’, though for completely different reasons.

So what on earth made her write it?

I assume she literally wanted to take the (humorously) nasty characters she had created in the Muggle world Harry and his fellow apprentice wizards frequent, and amplify them into ‘stereotypical’ characters in a semi-rural backwater. Drugs users abound.

I just don’t think it worked at all.

J.K.’s writing style is unique and she does weave complicated parallel plots, in this case at times much too convoluted even for me.

I was also shocked by the extreme human nastiness that pervaded almost every page, with occasional rays of optimism or kindness. The language was very graphic and often coldly harsh – I pity any relatively innocent Harry Potter fan who stumbled across the book expecting something akin to those fantasy adventures, captured so well on film.

It seems Rowling is faring well under her recently exposed pseudonym Robert Galbraith and perhaps she should have taken this approach in the first place. However, I’m now cautious about picking up one of her new books.

Sadly, not a casual read as far as I’m concerned.