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!