JK Rowling's new novel hits the shelves

  • JK Rowling's first novel for adults has gone on sale, five years after the seventh and final instalment of the Harry Potter series became the fastest-selling book in history.

    Pre-sales of The Casual Vacancy were already the highest of any book this year even though little was known about its content.

    Early reviews have been mixed. One critic said Rowling had retained her magic, while another that the novel is "dull".

    The Casual Vacancy has been described by the New Yorker magazine as a "rural comedy of manners that, having taken on state-of-the-nation social themes, builds into black melodrama."

    It opens with the unexpected death of Barry Fairbrother and builds into a story about tensions between the well-off inhabitants and their poorer neighbors.