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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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4,4793711,093 (3.42)2 / 236
Title:The Casual Vacancy
Authors:J.K. Rowling
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 512 pages
Collections:Read - finished, Your Library - eBook
Tags:BG, fiction

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


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English (341)  Dutch (7)  French (5)  German (5)  Spanish (4)  Finnish (3)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (371)
Showing 1-5 of 341 (next | show all)
Didn't much enjoy this novel, perhaps expecting more from the author of Harry Potter, but who's to say that I should enjoy everything she writes. I felt this to be akin to the script of a not terribly good sitcom and since starting to read it, I found out that it has indeed been made into a television series…..I won't be watching. ( )
  Fliss88 | Aug 29, 2015 |
I could not wait to finish reading this book. I felt I owed it to Rowling to see what she did outside the Potter-verse, but really wish I'd just abandoned the book early on. The majority of the characters held no appeal to me, and even the few that had momentary sparks of interest for me did not sustain. It is a sad, sad story about a sad slice of life in a sad town. Rounded up because the writing and crafting of the story, and the arcs are good, despite the fact that they are not to my taste. ( )
  bookczuk | Aug 22, 2015 |
If I could give only a half star, I probably would. I have decided that one criterion I will use for assigning a single star to my review of a book is that my decision to finish the book is based solely on the hope that some redemption will come from an author whom I really like. There was no redemption. Someone please tell Ms Rowling that an “adult” book is not required to include adult themes and language on every single page. The sky does not need to be described in sexual terms. Each and every character does not need to be totally devoid of human interest, and an individual’s obesity does not need to be re-described every time his name is mentioned. As an adult reader, I still want to feel some emotion toward a character, whether that emotion is love or hate or somewhere in between. If total apathy is an emotion, I guess I did feel something while reading this novel. I did not care about the fate of any character in the book. I am so glad that I did not purchase this book to add to my Rowling collection. If, while driving, I saw a sign announcing that the city of Pagford was close by, I would take an immediate detour to avoid the town and head to the nearest library or bookstore to restore my faith in contemporary literature with a good dose of Harry Potter.
I was quite pleased to hear the rumor that the author was considering another series of children’s books. I sincerely hope that she returns to the genre in which she has so magnificently performed in the past.
( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
I tried reading The Casual Vacancy earlier this year, back when there was still snow on the ground. I read about a quarter of it before I had to return it to the library. I didn't dislike it, but I didn't like it enough to get it from the library again. So I left it abandoned. That said, I was excited to see it picked for my book club this summer, because I would happily try it again -- and I did.

It's funny because most of the bad reviews of this book complain that it's about politics, and my complaint was that it isn't enough about politics. Because it isn't. Politics plays only a small role, a pretense for the incidents to begin. This book is actually a soap opera about all the ways people can be nasty to each other.

So this time, when I read it, I didn't go in expecting politics. Instead, I went in expecting soap opera, and I was satisfied. I read the entire book in a couple days. As a soap opera, it works beautifully. As an expose of how horrible, small-minded people hurt each other, it works even better.

This is one of those books that makes you think the author lived in a town like this full of these horrible people, because you as a reader also lived in a town like this full of these horrible people. The area where I grew up had Howards and Shirleys and Vikrams and more conservative Kays (although in my hometown, they were all Mormon). I knew these people in the book just as well as I knew them in real life. She presents the tyranny of the small-minded with such precise detail it almost hurts.

The plot isn't much to speak of, and the ridiculous plot device with every teenager magically hacking a website as though that is a thing made me roll my eyes each time after the first, but the characters. I can't say enough about the characters. They are all bad people but their cruelty is so real it outrages you anew, even though you just knew that Shirley was going to be vindictive and you just knew that Howard was going to be pompous. You knew people were going to be racist and classist yet unspeakably offended at any such accusation. You knew it but you still felt fury when Shirley was mad that under-investigation Parminder didn't attend Howard!

When I came to the end, I wanted to throw the book across the room in the best possible way. And only partially because it wasn't, as promised, about politics. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Aug 11, 2015 |
How horrible it must be for an author to have to live up to the Harry Potter fame. Try as I might not to compare this to Harry Potter, I just couldn't help myself. How utterly disappointed I am!

The plot of The Casual Vacancy was boring. The setting was boring. The characters were boring. I know I should not be comparing it to Harry Potter, and I know the characters of Harry Potter could not be matched in one book, but I hoped that maybe, just maybe, one character would be slightly well-developed. Or likable? Or hateable? Or complex? Harry Potter characters seemed to just be all of these, and it was done so well! The way they could be deceitful, selfish, and mean at times, but all that was often blended with love, selflessness, and a desire to be good. The way Snape blurred the lines between good and evil throughout the series. The way even the good guys, James and Sirius, could be cruel. The way you could understand why Voldemort turned out to be so evil. It sounds odd, since Harry Potter takes place in a fictional wizarding world, but the books made me feel good and hopeful about humanity. The Casual Vacancy just made me feel like people are boring and selfish and so uninteresting I can't even come up with an end to this sentence. I wonder what I would have thought of the book had it been written by someone else. I probably would not have finished it. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 341 (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: (3.42)
0.5 9
1 87
1.5 3
2 124
2.5 31
3 297
3.5 119
4 432
4.5 57
5 161


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