Plenty of people have given glowing reviews about this book, but it honestly did less than nothing for me. Everything in the narrative is petty and spiteful, and not one of the twenty or so main characters have any redeeming quality. I simply didn't have a reason to care about what happened to any of them. Unless we're talking about artsy literature (which I enjoy and which this most definitely isn't), I need something or someone to care about.
As for the swearing mentioned in many reviews, my issue is not with the frequency (although I would be nearly as rich as Rowling if the swear jar were in effect). Instead, I was turned off by the stunning lack of inventiveness. With casual cursers, a simple f-bomb is atomic and evocative. When it comes to habitual cursers, though, it becomes incredibly monotonous to use the same four letters over and over again. A prolific curser will invariably possess an extended vocabulary full of modifiers and extensions that add colour. The swearing in the novel didn't have that crackling fluidity. It was inauthentic to me, and felt like a casual curser trying too hard to shock the reader. The same goes for the sexual language, because the use of clinical terms felt prissy and detached when the intended effect seemed to be visceral shock and disgust ("labia" has my personal vote for most overused word in the book).
In many ways The Casual Vacancy felt like a modern day attempt at Dickens, where an attempt is made to expose social ills that are ignored—or even actively lobbied against—by the middle class. What Dickens always had, though, was one universally relatable protagonist to bring the social issue into sharp focus, and a host of larger-than-life secondary characters to make the journey memorable. The Casual Vacancy has none of this, and I felt the absence acutely.
Tom Hollander's narration was probably the only reason I got through the audiobook. His reading was memorable enough that I'm still hearing echoes in my head. If you're on the fence about The Casual Vacancy, the performance should really be the least of your issues.
I loved the way J.K. Rowling's wrote for the Harry Potter series. So I was willing to give this a try. However, the story just did not hold my attention. I rarely don't finish a book but I found this story too hard to enjoy. Usually, I can't wait to hop in my car to hear the books I am reading and while reading this story, I found myself wishing for my car ride to end. I finally decided to move on. Good luck if you decide to buy it.
J. K. Rowling is taking advantage of her fan base to get out a message. I admire her guts. I already understood the "generational curse" so I didn't really change my attitude and I suspect the author has written partly for this purpose. Some describe the book as tragicomedy but it is all tragic, nothing funny anywhere. This was a tough listen and I regret the experience. But I will be buying her next book anyway.
Not published it
Competent, Believable, not distracting
The whole Krystal story - too horrible, too sad.
J. K. Rowling: I hope this is out of your system now!
Disappointed by the coarse language. It took only a few minutes before I turned it off and deleted the files.
Audible should have labeled it with "Explicit Language" so I could have saved my money.
Well, I listened to the whole thing...so that's something. It took a long time, though. The story is like a microscope on a small contingent of very unlikeable people. I wasn't invested in any of their lives, and felt a little like I was watching an episode of a horrible-secret-revealing daytime talk show. Not recommended.
The narrator was exceptional. He really gave the characters their personalities.
The lives of the characters were intricately interwoven and really gave an example of the complexity of human relationships, within a family and within a community.
Howard Molleson. You could just picture this huge, full-of-himself character.
Too long for one sitting. I certainly wanted to get back to it as soon as I could to see what happened next. I think it is good to absorb the social implications after a couple hours of listening before listening to the next part.
I highly recommend it.
After having listened to many, many books Casual Vacancy may be one of my all time favorites.
Casual Vacancy has much same genius of the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling has a wonderful talent for creating very rich, three dimensional, worlds. The characters in Pagford and are so fascinating, colorful and tragic. I was hooked!
Hollander is an inspired storyteller, he gets the tone of every character just right.
I don't think I would have read it with out his narration.It made it much more entertaining.
I had expected much more than this very depressingbook. Characters were w/o any redeeming factors. I had loved the Potter books and think shes a great writer but the story was no more than a depressing soap opera. did fast forward thru many spots and kept thinking it would get better then it ended.
Perhaps, I;ll try it again at a later date and enjoy it better.
Too many characters and it was difficult to understand the speaker.
I don't have time to read any books so I love the audio versions.
I guess I was expecting a lot more from J.K. Rollins. I was disappointed