Adam Mars-Jones writes:
The Casual Vacancy is as much an event as a novel – J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults! – but only the novel aspect can be reviewed. Incidental atmospherics don’t come into it – an astronomer trying to establish the composition of a comet will try to look beyond the streak it makes in the sky. On one level, nothing could be more natural than that a successful writer should try something new. Nobody finds it strange when a composer of symphonies writes chamber music, or a sculptor starts exhibiting drawings. It’s true that in fiction the direction of genre travel is usually the other way round, with established novelists such as Salman Rushdie or Jeanette Winterson trying their hand at work for a younger age group, but it’s hardly a binding rule.