We Predict a Bestseller (In Two Months, That Is)

By Jim Menick

You hear things like “eagerly awaited new book” all the time. An author writes something that’s a hit, and everybody wants to read the next book. Now flash back a little. Remember all those people throwing Harry Potter parties at midnight at their local bookstores when the newest volume came out? Granted, most of them were kids, because they told us that the Harry Potter books were kids’ books. But still…

I didn’t believe them. I read the books myself to find out. All seven of them. I’m willing to stake my reputation on it now: they’re good for adults and kids both. (I even hear they made movies of them!)

So when J.K. Rowling announced a book for adults, period, a lot of ears perked up. The one thing we all learned from the Harry books was that Rowling is an amazing storyteller. Not only does she have obvious narrative gifts as far as content is concerned, but she is also a natural in terms of technical skills. In the Harry books, even the lengths of the chapters were just right. Magical stuff in more ways than one. But will her adult novel be magical? For that matter, what is it?

Well, details have been announced. It’s called The Casual Vacancy. Here’s the description from the publisher: “When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?”

Sound good? Are you looking forward to it? It’s coming out September 27. I know for a fact that I will not be waiting for it in a bookstore that midnight. Are you kidding? I am patient, and adult. I will wait until a reasonable time that morning when I will, without delay, download it to my Kindle and have at it. What about you?