Although JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy will only hit shops on Thursday, it's already spent 95 days in Amazon's top 100 chart and has achieved the highest number of pre-sale orders on Waterstones.com this year. But we always knew it would be a best-seller, writes Simon Edge, what we don't know is how it will impact on the reputation of the UK's most famous author.
"She herself once said it might be easier to issue her first post-Harry work under a pseudonym so that people could judge it without any burden of expectations."
Her vast success presents a series of literary problems, adds Edge. "Merely by adopting a different subject and style she risks disappointing the legions of readers who want more of the same. And if she tries anything too different she risks showing up her own limitations."
The literary editor of the Daily Express warns that Rowling "needs to be wary of jumping on a political bandwagon and thinking that just because she’s a successful writer she has political clout. She’s not a chronicler of the zeitgeist, she’s a very good storyteller."