The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

I just read a few other reviews of this book and it seems that a lot of people were looking for some sort of ‘Happy Ever After’. If that’s what you’re after from a book, then this one isn’t for you. The story and the characters are firmly anchored in the real world.

I had trouble getting into the book at the beginning, so much so that I wasn’t sure that  I’d be able to finish it, but once I got past a certain point I couldn’t put it down. I saw an interview with J.K. Rowling before I started reading where she said that every character in the book was someone she’d known. I feel fortunate that I only know some of them, but it was recognising these characters that got me interested in the book.

The plot of the story is almost incidental. It is the stories of the individual characters and their interactions that drive the book.

The book delves into the thinking of the main characters and presents this in all its sickeningly gory detail with absolutely no backing off or softening the edges. So, we find out exactly what the selfish, self-centred residents of the fictional village of Pagford think about themselves and each other. At times, I found this almost too brutal and confronting to read. I think that an author who was just starting out and hoping for success would be much more sympathetic to readers’ sensibilities. In some ways it’s very refreshing to see an author with the power to completely let loose.

I’m still not sure exactly how I feel about this book. Having absolutely loved Harry Potter, that’s certainly not an emotion I could apply to a book like this one. I think there will be plenty of people out there who strongly dislike this book.

I won’t be recommending this book to my teenage children as they don’t have anything in common with the teens in this story (I hope).

I can’t wait to see what J.K. Rowling brings us next! Yes, I will be rushing out to buy the next one (Hoping that J.K. Rowling has overshot the mark in her transition from fantasy to reality).


Book Published 2012


See a full list of books by J.K. Rowling

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Filed under Fiction, Rowling, J.K.

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