Review: The Casual Vacancy Cover Revealed

J. K. Rowling’s newest novel, The Casual Vacancy, will be released on September 27th. On July 3rd, we received our first glimpse of the cover, which is to be the same both in the U. K. and in the U. S. at least, shown to the left. Rowling fans have already shared their two cents about it across the blogosphere and Twittersphere, and I am about to do the same. There are some fans who have said that, not only do they love this cover, they would gladly buy the Harry Potter series all over again if they were re-released in this format. Prompted by that idea, fan artists got to work creating those covers. And here is where my thoughts come in: if the cover art is so simple that amateur artists can recreate it, then I hardly think it’s worthy of a J. K. Rowling book. I fear that I can hear artists who make a profession out of creating art for novels groaning as this format gains popularity among fans.

However, this cover uses bright colors, so it will stand out on the shelves in book stores. People are going to buy this book regardless of the cover, merely because of the name on the top. Remember those simplistic re-release “adult” covers in the U. K. for the Harry Potter series? I actually own a copy of Half-Blood Prince with a U. K. adult cover, and I love it. In the case of those covers, I do love the simplicity. I do love that, were I to read Harry Potter in public (not that I would ever be ashamed of it!), I don’t have to worry about thinking that it looks like I have a children’s book in my hands. While I love the U. S. Harry Potter cover art, this much is true: the cover art is made for a younger audience than my 26-year-old self. So, maybe the supporters of this cover are right. Maybe simpler is better, particularly for an adult novel. What do you think about the cover art? Let’s hear your comments below!

Furthermore, it was revealed on July 3rd that the character Barry Fairweather is actually Barry Fairbrother. Publishers Little, Brown blame themselves for this simple typographical error in the earlier press release, but already the fandom is abuzz with conspiracy theories in typical J. K. Rowling fashion. What if the character’s name actually had to be changed for some legal reason? What if Rowling herself meant to let mistake slip into the press, for some grander purpose? Do you have any theories? Give your thoughts in the comments!

  • I think that this simple cover looks amazing. It’s true that it’s bright and pretty, but I’m also fairly certain that a lot of thought will have gone into it. Just from this glance and the little we already know about the upcoming story I can see that the art is very relevant. The box is obviously the checking of an option on the ballot for the parish council. It strikes me as odd that it would be a cross rather than a tick. Is this ordinary for the U.K. or does it perhaps hint at something out of the ordinary? We know that the story begins with (or is preceded by) the death of a member of the parish council, and that this is the source of the conflict in the story. Maybe I’m crazy, but that elegant little cross looks slightly threatening to me. Very Cruella De Vil-esque when set against that blood red backdrop. In fact the entire cover seems to give the impression that there is a pretty face to some quite sinister events, but perhaps that’s only because I’ve read the synopsis. It almost reminds me of the film “Hot Fuzz,” though without the physical comedy.

  • I have to agree with your first statement. J.K. Rowling is a very complex lady. I miss Mary GrandPré already. I don’t need the cover to look childish, but I found that even the covers of the adult HP books were more appealing and captivating. I haven’t read a book with such a bright cover since my younger days so honestly, I don’t like it but thankfully I plan to purchase the e-book so I guess I don’t have much to worry about 🙂

  • Thanks for both your comments. I can see both sides. I really didn’t put that much thought into the cover as you obviously have, Phill, merely because I didn’t think there was any thought to put into it. This cover seemed to simple to me to have any thoughts put into it, but you proved me wrong there! I’ve already pre-ordered the hardcover, Erica, so I suppose I won’t have the luxury of being able to hide behind my Nook. However, I am so excited to read this book that I’m not really thinking about what others might think about me and this cover right now! I agree, though, Erica. I miss Mary GrandPré too!

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