Last week’s NYT’s book review of J.K.Rowling’s first adult book labeled it dull and that was the least of it. This week’s Time magazine’s review written by Lev Grossman basically said it was brilliant, so much for a difference of opinion.
Of the two, Grossman’s review, I think, was better written. He analyzed the plot, characters, and writing in more depth than Michiko Kakutani, who wrote the piece in the NYT. He sees the book as more than light social satire. He credits Rowling with delving deeper into “the emotional and social gaps between us and the grotesque emotional wounds we inflict on those on the other side” of the social ladder. In addition, the reviewer is very impressed with Rowling’s ability to understand what makes teenage boys tick. She exhibited that talent in the Harry Potter series and continues to add to that ability.
Grossman’s thumbs- up review of “The Casual Vacancy” was more than it’s a well-written book. Besides brilliant he called it “a big, ambitious, funny, upsetting and magnificently eloquent novel of contemporary England.” Can’t get better than that. Read both reviews and see what you think. Also check out the great illustration that accompanies the Time review.