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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

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3,394None1,585 (3.44)2 / 180
Member:kinsey_m
Title:The Casual Vacancy
Authors:J. K. Rowling
Info:Little, Brown (2012), Hardcover, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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

Recently added bySymphonySil, louisste, Y2Ash, private library, EmilyKM, Howchins, amerynth, irvineuse, AprilAnn0814
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English (267)  Dutch (6)  French (5)  German (4)  Spanish (4)  Finnish (3)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (295)
Showing 1-5 of 267 (next | show all)
J.K. Rowling just tries too hard with "The Casual Vacancy" to separate herself from her young adult novels. I found this book to be incredibly boring. I got about half-way through before realizing it wasn't going to get any better and deciding to set it aside.

There are a myriad of characters, introduced one after another, and I didn't find any of them likeable, memorable or interesting. Neither is the story.... I really didn't care at all who gets to fill the "casual vacancy." ( )
  amerynth | Apr 15, 2014 |
I'd heard a lot of things about J.K.'s post-Potter experiment. Opinions seemed to be split. I heard critics panned it on release day, but at the end of the year, it was hitting a lot of "Best of" lists. I went into it giving a lot of benefit of the doubt. After all, this is an author who has her own theme park.

The "story" starts when a guy on a small English town's council dies suddenly. There's a vacant seat and there's a big debate who should fill it because there's going to be a vote on where to draw property lines around a ghetto part of town. Unfortunately, the main plot remains unthrust because it's more about the tons of characters and the mundane things they do. It was still kind of interesting because there are several core conflicts of teens vs. parents, rich vs. poor, and so on. It kept my interest, but nothing goes beyond arguing and suffering. My interest waned as the pages went on and on and on, and nothing happened to "change the game".

Every single detail gets expanded, every characters thought gets explained. There's too much internal dialogue and not enough external. I can see this book being appealing for fans of "Pride and Prejudice" or other long British epics where there's a lot of talking. Not even talking, but minor interactions like doctor's visits, prosaic house conversations, arguing couples, and so on.

I wish this book had started in the middle, cause there's no tangible problem until then. (I will say that it's nice to see a book that integrates Internet into the plot, you'd be surprised how many texts ignore it.) After that you see the consequences and all the exciting stuff that happens, the conflicts and revelations. Before that it's all set-up.

So to sum up, I don't think it was worth the time I spent on it. It's a milieu book, where you've got a lot of characters, but not a lot of interest. ( )
  theWallflower | Mar 27, 2014 |
Basically this book is a desciption of all the characters in a English town and the politics and hate that drive them all forward in their lives. there is an abundance of the f--- word so don't be deceived that Rowlings has written a book for all readers. This is definitely an adult read. ( )
  magnolia2 | Mar 25, 2014 |
I'm changing the shelf from 'beach-reads' to 'contemporary literature' because this is truly an excellent piece of writing.

I didn't anticipate Rowling being able to so fully develop the inner lives of her characters and weave the events in their lives together so seamlessly. The characters in 'The Casual Vacancy' are close to approaching characters in a weaker John Irving novel and that man does characters like nobody's business.

This novel is thoroughly enjoyable and definitely shows that Rowling has the ability to write stories for adults that are just as compelling as the 'Harry Potter' novels were for kids (and adults).

Greatgreatgreat segue novel away from the land of magic and into real life.


(It only took me so long because I listened to it as an audiobook and it was split between two road-trips.) ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
What authors do after they become successful will tell you a lot about whether they’re worth paying attention to. Rowling’s follow-up to the biggest book series of our time is impressively un-Potter like, with ambition to be a social novel in the vein of Dickens or Eliot. And like those two she's unforgiving. It may be a little contrived in places (such as with the climactic event) but it does suggest that she might be remembered for more than Potter. ( )
  JonArnold | Mar 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 267 (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
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.

(summary from another edition)

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