I think it's fair to say a lot of people came to The Casual Vacancy determined to hate it. Some people were going to attack it for not being Booker Prize worthy. Others were going to loathe it for not being Harry Potter. Many, judging by Amazon reviews, were more interested in the Kindle price than the book itself. Motivated partly by these naysayers, and partly by my love of her earlier work, I would admit to being equally stubborn in my determination to love the book. I wasn't disappointed.
Make no mistake, The Casual Vacancy is a strange book - at once very contemporary and deeply old-fashioned. Only a few weeks ago I was celebrating the long-and-slow virtues of Anna Karenina, written at a time when novelists were unafraid of meandering merrily along with a big cast of characters and a slow-burning plot. Rowling's new book is in that mould.