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The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
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The Casual Vacancy (original 2012; edition 2012)

by J.K. Rowling

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,515437788 (3.41)2 / 263
Member:kittykitty3
Title:The Casual Vacancy
Authors:J.K. Rowling
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2012), Hardcover, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:None

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

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English (405)  Dutch (8)  German (5)  French (5)  Spanish (4)  Finnish (2)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  English (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  English (1)  English (436)
Showing 1-5 of 405 (next | show all)
As a fan of the Harry Potter books, I was a bit skeptical when J.K. Rowling announced her new book, The Casual Vacancy; but I knew I had to read it. I was particularly cautious when I started reading and had to tell myself over and over, “this is not Harry Potter, this is not even fantasy!”. The size of the book itself was enough to scare me, if I started reading it, I knew I had to finish it whether it was good or not. So with all of this in mind I picked up The Casual Vacancy.

It was a slow beginning. The story started with the death of Barry Fairbrother and the opening of a spot in the local council. There were a lot of characters in this book and the onslaught of new characters and new perspectives was somewhat dizzying at first. However, after the characters were all sorted out - about a quarter way in - I found the story very fascinating.

The story was centered around Barry’s death and how his life influenced the people around him, but it was also very political and I was surprised at how the plot drew me in, especially since I’m not a fan of politics. The story was also very grimm. It was a sad story and anyone going in looking for a happy-go-lucky plot will be very disappointed. I loved the heaviness of the story, it made it seem very real, and I was a fan of the way each character had to wrestle with their own demons.

Halfway through the book I found myself reading into the wee hours of the morning, not noticing the time; Rowling has a way of sucking you in to her plot. Her stories are both simple and clean in writing style and complex in storyline which - for me - makes it very enjoyable.

What was also great about the read was, half way through I forgot all about who wrote the book because I was so engrossed in the story itself. I must repeat that it is not a light read, not in size, complexity or feel, so read with caution, but when you do get into the story it will sweep you off your feet. Well done, Rowling, I’m definitely reading your next book!
( )
  iShanella | Dec 2, 2016 |
I liked this more and less than I thought I would, in part because I like a book about a community where people are in a muddle that gradually gets straightened out and I think Rowling writes about teenagers very well. That said, I thought there were some giant misteps and I disliked the ending. A little too much kitchen sink here. Still, I'd slip another half star in if I could. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
My least favorite J. K. Rowling novel. ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
Unappealing characters, depressing story and zero spark in the prose equals to one of the worst reading experiences I've had in a long time. After two attempts at trying to read Harry Potter and now this dreary book, I've given up on Rowling as an author. There isn't a single character in the cast that the reader can care about, most are insipidly stupid to make a point about class or simply irredeemable losers with stories that seem to all add up to a common theme, human beings are miserable creatures. In leaving the world of YA-friendly fantasy, Rowling seems to revel in the seedier side of adult and teen life equally, with plenty of hormones and some sexual deviant behavior that the author seems to think is her ticket to being recognized as an adult author. Her talents would have been focused on crafting a more solid and less rambling story. Both with the Potter books and here, the nature of class and what one's status of birth entitles you in society form the backbone theme in her storytelling. However, wherein the Potter books offers the readers a generous amount of fantasy and adventure to enjoy, there are no such pleasures here. A terrible book. ( )
  Humberto.Ferre | Sep 28, 2016 |
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book. I knew I shouldn't compare it to Harry Potter but, at the same time, it was a little difficult not to at the beginning-- it was the only thing by JK Rowling that I had read and the series had been such a large part of my childhood. Clearly, this book had nothing in common with Harry Potter besides the superb writing.
This is a character-driven novel as opposed to a plot-driven novel. This made it quite a bit difficult to get through the first hundred pages or so. In fact, I almost put it down several times with no thought of finishing the novel. However, I felt that I owed more to JK Rowling so I pushed through and it was certainly worth it. ( )
  serogers02 | Aug 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 405 (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.

(summary from another edition)

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