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The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
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The Casual Vacancy (2012)

by J. K. Rowling

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,800473837 (3.42)2 / 279
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English (436)  Dutch (8)  German (6)  French (5)  Spanish (4)  Italian (4)  Norwegian (2)  Finnish (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (471)
Showing 1-5 of 436 (next | show all)
These are not characters you will love (the hero of the book is soon dead), in fact most of them display the least desirable of human qualities. Not sure they needed 500 pages to display their warts and foibles but if you don't give up entirely by page 300 or so, and keep reading to the end, it does pick up a bit. ( )
  juliejb9 | Sep 23, 2018 |
There is no-one nice in this small English town. Rowling describes every imaginable social issue; drug use, prositution, family violence, child abuse, child neglect, racism, prejudice towards lower socioeconomic families, malicious gossip, rape, cyberbullying, self-harm, poor marital relationships, blackmail, and from the title... squabbling over council issues........ . The novel begins with a death and ends with more tragic deaths - in between it is sometimes tedious, sometimes black comedy. ( )
  siri51 | Sep 4, 2018 |
I cannot call this book enjoyable, because it was horribly depressing, but it was spot on writing that really drew me in. Rowling apparently has a gift to protrait real life people (both in the Cormoran Strike books and here). ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |
J.K. Rowling is an outstanding writer. There were times, reading this book, that I had to just stop and read her sentences again because they were such asounding observations of human character.
The gritty middle-class British language was so crude at times, that I had to just take a breath and get through it. (It helps to read it with a British accent in your head...or imagine it as a BBC dark comedy) but remember, most of those words are good old Anglo-Saxon nouns and verbs.

I have been to small English neighborhoods and towns that were pretty gritty. I remember people on the street being a lot tougher looking than I was used to. I saw housing that was very institutional and not at all "English countryside" pretty. I loved the way JKR took the idyllic English small town, wrapped with a tranquil river and crisscrossed with lovely hills, and looked beneath it to the prejudices, hypocracies and general ugly pettiness that can hide behind all the middle class lives.

It is not a murder mystery, or any kind of mystery. I think it is allegorical in many ways. It would be a great book for a group discussion because there are so many facets to the characters.

I laughed a lot, but the humor is dark. Somehow, we are lifted up just a level or two above everything that is happening (are we the ghost of Barry Fairbrother?) and we just watch the inevitable unfolding of the tale.

Two thumbs up! ( )
  ioplibrarian | Aug 26, 2018 |
It wasn't a story I expected. It was rough and violent. It wasn't tempered by magic like Harry Potter. Though, I think people sometimes forget how dark Harry Potter actually is. His parents are brutally murdered by a megalomaniacal serial killer. He is taken in by relatives that treat him like a burden and obviously don't want him. There is bullying. There are slaves. There is war. So many people die. The magic is what makes it less scary; there is no magic in Casual Vacancy. This is reality.

( )
  Loni.C. | Aug 17, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 436 (next | show all)
Set in the fictional village of Pagford, The Casual Vacancy at first seems to have all the trappings of the adorable-English-town novel—an updating of Jane Austen viewed through the loving lens of a Merchant Ivory production. But the book’s misanthropy is more indebted to Hardy or Somerset Maugham, both known for their deep distrust of humankind and their sense of the viciousness that can spring up among neighbors.
 
Rowling has spoken of the sense of risk in embarking on this novel. The Harry Potter series must have been a tough act to follow. What she wanted to do here, I guess, was to seize on the world we can all see without going through Platform 9¾. She has done that to stunning effect.
 
This is a novel of insight and skill, deftly drawn and, at the end, cleverly pulled together. It plays to her strengths as a storyteller. That will not stop the envious from carping.
added by eereed | editThe Economist (Sep 29, 2012)
 
It is not the sort of book that hordes of people would choose to read if its author had not also written a far more comforting series of stratospheric bestsellers. But perhaps the world will be better for them reading it. Rowling may not be an easy woman, but she uses her powers for good.
added by lampbane | editSalon, Laura Miller (Sep 28, 2012)
 
The Casual Vacancy is a sour novel, one that seems designed to leave Rowling’s biggest, most avid fans feeling as though she sort of hates them. For all its readability—I had no problem tearing through the whole thing today after buying it from a bewildered bookstore clerk at 7:30 in the morning—the book reveals that though she remains a careful observer of human foibles, Rowling the writer isn’t well-served by her enforced isolation.
added by DieFledermaus | editSlate, Dan Kois (Sep 27, 2012)
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rowling, J. K.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Demarty, PierreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Metaal, CarolienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mutsaers, SabineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Barry Fairbrother did not want to go out to dinner.
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He thought that it was all over, finished, done with. Andrew had never yet had reason to observe the first tiny bubble of fermenting yeast, in which was contained an inevitable, alchemical transformation.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The early death of a small town councilman reveals deep-rooted conflicts in the seemingly idyllic community of Pagford, which rapidly deteriorates in the face of cultural disputes, generation clashes, and a volatile election.
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When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock and the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

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Average: (3.42)
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