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The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy (original 2012; edition 2012)

by J.K. Rowling

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3,7153161,407 (3.45)2 / 206
Title:The Casual Vacancy
Authors:J.K. Rowling
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 512 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:borrowed, British, read 2012

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


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English (288)  Dutch (6)  French (5)  German (4)  Spanish (4)  Finnish (3)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (316)
Showing 1-5 of 288 (next | show all)
This novel ended much better than it started, and actually got to me a bit near the end. There are a lot of characters introduced all at once, not in an elegant way (I found myself having to think, "Now who is this, again?" for several chapters), and the strongest-written were the teenagers. There were a social worker and school counselor who were very hard to keep straight in the beginning because they were so similar. The adults all seem to be in loveless marriages or desperate to be in love or avoid it, and pretty much all seem to do an about-face in the last 20 pages or so. It was an okay story, but too much of it focused on the small-town politics that were the jumping-off point of the novel, instead of letting that be the background. There was a blatant 'history repeats itself' theme, and I found all of the women to be weak - either cold or drunk or drug abusers or utterly self-centered and self-deluded. The men weren't much better, and the one man in the story who was sort of lauded as the ideal man that a lot of the women had a weakness for, barely opened his mouth or did anything that showed why he was deserving of such praise, other than being good looking and quiet (which was maybe the appeal, in a story populated with loud-mouths and egomaniacs). The only kinship I felt was with the teenagers, and even there, a few of them didn't feel like real people until toward the end. It wasn't bad and had some good passages and some nearly excellent stuff near the end, but it's not a page turner and won't change your life. ( )
  MerryKat | Aug 19, 2014 |
I certainly don't need to read all the vulgarity. On to better things. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
Ever get to the end of a movie and the last scene gave you goosebumps? Or heard a song that made your skin crawl? I believe this happens when something is created by true inspiration, true muse, by a true master of craft.

This book did that for me. I fell so in love with the characters, even the ones with nothing good going for them, that I was heartbroken for them. Rowling's character development is elaborate, simple and covers every sense. Without a single sentence of pure description she somehow still makes characters real, in your face and solid.

If the gun in the first scene must go before the last scene (according to the writing craft rules) Rowling has taken this to heart. Not only does the "gun" go off, it is glimpsed here and there throughout the story like a treasure hunt of detail. The wrist watch you thought was just a passing description will resurface as a tell-tale piece of evidence. The man you thought was just a jogger will actually have been plotting in his own mind how to change the entire town and alter the plot line.

This book is not an escape from reality, but an examination of reality. It is reality slapping you in the face with chapter after chapter of the good and the bad; the happy and the miserable; the savior and the junkie. And it's worth every page. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
great characters ( )
  pepe68 | Aug 12, 2014 |
I did not read this book due to a love of the Harry Potter series either in books and/or movies. I'm not a Harry Potter fan. I decided to read "The Cuckoo's Calling" (Cormoran Strike #1)by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym), J.K. Rowling after all the publicity about the author's true identity was revealed. I would have discovered the book anyway as this is one of the many genres that delight me but I definitely read it sooner than I might have otherwise. Following my reading and writing a review of my own thoughts, I read many other reviews and comments. During that additional reading is when I learned that it was not the first adult title that J.K. Rowling had written and decided I wanted to read "The Casual Vacancy" too and come to my own conclusions.
I enjoyed "The Casual Vacancy". As with "The Cuckoo's Calling", I didn't have any expectations. "The Casual Vacancy" reminded me of reading "How Green Was My Valley" by Richard Llewellyn years ago in high school. A small town - unique to itself - lives separate and yet lives intertwined. It's an intimate portrayal of multiple characters in a small community and as the reader spends more time with each character and each family, the 'reveals' are thought-provoking, intimate, and sometimes as heart wrenching as ordinary days in our lives sometimes are...
I look forward to reading more J.K. Rowling novels for adults whether published under pseudonym or not - that to me is her personal choice. I enjoy spending time buried in J.K. Rowling's novels particularly for her extraordinary use of language which can probe, intensify, celebrate, and convey the depth of her characters within the stories she has to share with the world. ( )
  Corduroy7 | Aug 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 288 (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.
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
When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor,
teenagers at war with their parents,
 wives at war with their husbands,
 teachers at war with their pupils….

Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
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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: (3.45)
0.5 6
1 63
1.5 3
2 101
2.5 29
3 243
3.5 104
4 368
4.5 52
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