JK Rowling's first adult novel will be "blackly comic"

NEW YORK Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:05pm IST

J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter, arrives for a ceremony to mark the start of building work on a research clinic, at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland November 7, 2011. REUTERS/David Moir/Files

J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter, arrives for a ceremony to mark the start of building work on a research clinic, at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland November 7, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/David Moir/Files

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - J.K. Rowling's first book for adults will be a "blackly comic" novel set in an idyllic English town where all is not what it seems, its publisher said on Thursday.

The title of the closely guarded 480-page novel by the prolific "Harry Potter" author will be "The Casual Vacancy." It and will be available worldwide in English on September 27 in hardback, e-book and in audio form, Little, Brown and Company said in a statement.

The publisher promised it will be "blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising," and offered some general plot details.

Rowling's foray into the adult fiction world begins when a character called Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly, leaving a town called Pagford in shock, before readers will realize that behind Pagford's facade is a town at war, according to the publisher.

"Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupil ... Pagford is not what it first seems," said the statement.

"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?"

When the novel was first announced in February, Rowling, 46 said the successful "Harry Potter" series had given her the "the freedom to explore new territory." The seven-book series sold 450 million copies worldwide and resulted in eight top-grossing movies.

"The Casual Vacancy" is the British writer's first novel directly aimed at the adult market.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney; editing by Patricia Reaney)

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