JK Rowling’s long-awaited new adult book The Casual Vacancy will include a gay plot.
In the small English town of Pagford, a mother is ‘struck dumb’ when her daughter announces she is gay.
Released today (27 September), the dark comedy drama will be the first adult novel Rowling has written since the critical and commercially successful Harry Potter series.
She has warned wizard fans that instead of sorcery, there will be more sex and swearing.
It is already the top of the British bestseller lists, with 2.6 million copies sold on pre-order.
But the novel, which charts the unexpected death of a member of the parish council, has divided opinion among the critics.
The Telegraph’s Christopher Brookmyre said: ‘One marvels at the skill with which Rowling weaves such vivid characters in and out of each other’s lives, rendering them so complex and viscerally believable that one finds oneself caring for the worst of them.’
The Daily Mail’s notorious homophobic columnist Jan Moir was less than complimentary, saying: ‘Can the Casual Vacancy ever live up to the hype?
‘On balance, I would have to say no. Not unless you want to have more than 500 pages of relentless socialist manifesto masquerading as literature crammed down your throat.’
When the British bestselling author told young fans Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay, it amazed fans and angered the religious right.
‘Dumbledore is gay,’ Rowling said during her US book tour. ‘I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy.’