The Casual Vacancy
For J.K. Rowling, the act of anonymity represented a big action -- she went to great lengths to remain behind the curtain of a pseudonym -- but it also was a way for her to appear small, and to give pleasure without the burden of fame.
"Hey, how would you like to see Jo tonight?" Jo? Jo who? But then it dawned on me. Oh. My. Goodness. Jo. As in, Joanne "Jo" Rowling.
It was hard for me to love these characters. More than once, I thought of putting the book down because these characters are so real, so raw, that they become dislikable and at the same time, curiously familiar. They remind me of the neighbors Jesus calls me to love.
It is an excellent read. More importantly for me, though, it is the kind of book that I have dreamed about having the world's prominent authors write about: with Sikh characters and references, but as a normal, ordinary part of the narrative, not in the form of lectures and essays.
The news that J.K. Rowling would publish a novel for adults was greeted generally in predictable ways: with excitement, trepidation and skepticism in equal measures.