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J.K. Rowling is the author of the bestselling Harry Potter series of seven books, published between 1997 and 2007, which have sold over 450 million copies worldwide, are distributed in more than 200 territories, translated into 73 languages, and have been turned into eight blockbuster films. She has also written two small volumes, which appear as the titles of Harry's schoolbooks within the novels. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages were published by Bloomsbury Children's Books in March 2001 in aid of Comic Relief. In December 2008, The Tales of Beedle the Bard was published in aid of the Children's High Level Group, and quickly became the fastest selling book of the year. As well as an OBE for services to children's literature, J.K. Rowling is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees including the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, France's Legion d'Honneur, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award, and she has been a Commencement Speaker at Harvard University USA. She supports a wide number of charitable causes through her charitable trust Volant, and is the founder of Lumos, a charity working to transform the lives of disadvantaged children.
Rowling is a great storyteller with a clear eye and a warm heart, and The Casual Vacancy is a moving and immensely pleasurable novel * Sunday Business Post Ireland * The Casual Vacancy is a brilliant novel, entertaining, intelligent, moving, passionate and hard-hitting; touching on familiar subjects but approaching them with great originality and skill. Moreover, it's unputdownable . . . The novel is a triumph * Irish Times * This is a novel of insight and skill, deftly drawn and, at the end, cleverly pulled together. It plays to her strengths as a storyteller * The Economist * The action bowls along compellingly, most of the characters are vividly drawn and there are some sharp - often very sharp - observations about their social pretensions . . . a bold and distinctive effort * The Sunday Telegraph * Insightful, meaningful, daring and resolutely challenging to tabloid assumptions regarding the moral worth of individuals * Scotland on Sunday * A big, ambitious, brilliant, profane, funny, deeply upsetting and magnificently eloquent novel of contemporary England . . . This is a deeply moving book by somebody who understands both human beings and novels very, very deeply * Lev Grossman, Time Magazine * An exquisite and occasionally moving black comedy . . . The acid test - I suspect it would do well even if its author's name weren't J.K. Rowling * David Robinson, Scotsman * Heartbreaking - turning the page seems unbearable, but not as much as putting down the book would be * Deepti Hajela, Associated Press * One marvels at the skill with which Rowling weaves such vivid characters in and out of each other's lives * Christopher Brookmyre, The Daily Telegraph * The Casual Vacancy is a stunning, brilliant, outrageously gripping and entertaining evocation of British society today. [J.K. Rowling] has done a rather brave thing and pulled it off magnificently * Henry Sutton, The Mirror * A needle-sharp and darkly comic expose of today's class-ridden society . . . A highly readable morality tale for our times * Emma Lee-Potter, Daily Express * This is a wonderful novel. JK Rowling's skills as a storyteller are on a par with RL Stevenson, Conan Doyle and PD James. Here, they are combined with her ability to create memorable and moving characters to produce a state-of-England novel driven by tenderness and fury * Melvyn Bragg, The Observer *
Overlong and bereft of the rich brocade of invention that made "Harry Potter," well, magical, Rowling's latest novel might seem to have the critical deck stacked against it, but this, her first "book for adults," is made of stronger stuff. It tells the story of a small English town, Pagford, which loses, in the novel's first pages, one of its lynchpins: father, friend, rowing instructor, and council member Barry Fairbrother. Across the wide scope of Rowling's story, Fairbrother is the common thread, as some characters cope with his absence and others use his name to enact personal vendettas. The cast is, unsurprisingly, large, and Rowling excels with her teenage characters-who are vivid and mercurial in her hands-where the adults are often thick and one-note. She doesn't shy away from the material noticeably absent in her YA series-i.e., sex, drugs, and religion-and overall her frankness is refreshing, though there are several moments that clunk, thud, and bewilder (many of which will prompt laughter). Verdict Still, Rowling is a storyteller, and this book is no exception to her powers. Though slow to start, it has the momentum to carry readers through to the end, and they will be glad they stayed with it. A rewarding read; recommended. [See Rowling Goes Adult.-Ed.]-Molly McArdle, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
What secrets lurk in the hearts of the residents of Pagford? This is the central question in Rowling's dark novel that charts the cutthroat competition for an empty seat on the town council. In this audio edition, the challenge for narrator Tom Hollander is the book's varied cast, which features a dozen main characters and many minor ones-all requiring unique voices and accents. Additionally challenging is the fact that Rowling's characters often act one way in public and another way-a rather horrid way-in private. Much to his credit, Hollander handles all of this with great aplomb, whether he's voicing the boozy Samantha, her pompous father-in-law, or Fats, a skinny teenager who very well might be a sociopath. Hollander exhibits particular skill creating a full range of voices for the book's male characters, e.g., the timid squeaks of the commitment-phobic Gavin and the curt, deep grunts of duplicitous Simon Price. Hollander's narration captures the sardonic wit of the novel, animating the author's acerbic observations of human weakness with intelligence and style. Hollander even sings, offering a solid rendition of "Morning Has Broken" in a pivotal funeral scene. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.