Reading is one of life's greatest pleasures...and, now that I've found audiobooks, I can read even while performing mundane tasks!
If you're a Harry Potter fan, then you'll understand when I say that reading "The Casual Vacancy" is like reading a novel set entirely in Little Whinging. If you haven't read the Potter books, suffice it to say that throughout this listen I felt as if I were driving by a tragic car wreck...and just couldn't look away. The characters are real and flawed. The story is dark and raw. The plot twists kept me guessing. I didn't particularly love any of the characters, and yet I was drawn to them, and I wanted to know how things would turn out for them. But there was no relief from the meanness and pettiness of ordinary life in a small town like one finds in the Potter books, no Hagrid or Dumbledore popping in to whisk us away to the world of magic and adventure. Not that I was expecting that. I knew what I was getting myself into. But I couldn't help wishing for such a thing throughout the listen. Still, I resonated with the social commentary, and I found J. K. Rowling's writing to be just as satisfying as I always have. The narration was highly enjoyable. Tom Hollander did a great job of portraying each character with a distinct voice.
I desperately wish to give this novel 5 stars. I enjoyed JK Rowling's Harry Potter series for the brilliant plot, character development, resolution etc. And I would rank JK Rowling as the most brilliant author of our time. Yet this novel is the exact opposite. Poor plot layout. Horrific character development. Potently graphic (without purpose) and extremely disturbing subject matter. I thought the book would never come to an end. In all fairness there was some resolution at the very end but still did not satisfy. I just hope that JK Rowling doesn't have as negative of a view of this world as portrayed in this novel. I am so very disappointed.
The story is writen from different characters point of view which I usually like. This book however bounces from boring character to character and it is hard to keep track of who's story is who's.
I understand this book is geared towards adults but the cursing is completely unnecessary. I expected more from Ms. Rowling's writing.
The narrator is the only decent thing about this book.
I am really disappointed in this book. I didn't even get through the first 45 minutes of listening to it because it the characters, story, and language was so awful.
Jk Rowling told such wonderful tales in the Harry series, They were woven with delightful texture and flavor with layers of discription. Most of the characters were inherently good with redeming qualities or frightfully evil. JK Rowling, to this point, had become my favorite author. I still read the series periodically.
The Casual Vacancy was so disappointing, it was as though the book was written by a different author. The story was very shallow , as were the characters. A very depressing book. I want a story to entertain me and if social commentary is included (the social commentary was horrendously thick in CV) good should prevail. It didn't. JK Rowling's ship may have sailed with the end of Valdemort!
I had to be talked into the Harry Potter phenomenon, but once I got into it I became obsessed. So, naturally, I was hesitantly hopeful about Rowling's foray into adult fiction, even though I was still mourning the end of the Harry Potter books and films.
I am mourning Harry Potter no longer.
Don't get me wrong. This is nothing like the Harry Potter books, and if you're looking for a children's book or even an adult fantasy book, this isn't the one for you. However, if you're looking for a complex analysis of a small town, with incredibly profound character development, and shifting viewpoints that illustrate the human weaknesses behind each of our personal and political views, then you will not be disappointed.
About halfway through, I tried to slow down, not wanting it to end, but eventually I just gorged and finished it. Rowling is an incredible storyteller, and her carefully crafted characters will stay with me for quite some time.
The narrator is good as well, and though I don't have a keen ear for accents, there was a difference in classes when he spoke, which rang true to me.
Dislike! Was VERY disappointed in this book! It seemed like the "back story" was written for a compilation of sad/tragic news stories. There was no plot or story line...just a saga of bad circumstances and choices where there was not only no "magic"...there was no hope! Hopefully anticipating the next book and a recapture of the wonderful writing style proven in the Potter series! There's so much imagination and talent...please let us see it again!!
Not from my perspective!
I don't think the foul language was completely necessary. I've now heard some British expressions that I'm pretty sure I should repeat...but not completely sure what they mean! :-(
Maybe if I had been a Harry Potter fan I would appreciate this book, but I have never really wanted to get involved with the group, however I trusted those who did, had reason to love it! But if this is the best the author can do for adults, I will remain not being a fan of J.K. Rollins. This is a troubling book. The language is horrible, full of the 'F' BOMB! It was troubling on so many levels. Mainly, if she thinks it takes filthy language to be entertaining, I will continue reading books that aren't. Just terrible! The story was depressing, I enjoyed nothing about the book, I actually had to force myself to finish it!
the distressing story. The horrible language. You would think she could explain and portray her characters without the f bomb. Some of us, don't' use or need to hear it every other word to know whats going on! We have imagination and can figure out if the author is good enough, the story without the filthy language. Maybe she should read "Dickens" or do at least a refresher course on truly good 'prose'.
nothing...he should not waste his time reading this stuff out loud!
Anger, because I thought I would be entertained!
Don't waste money or a credit on this book, unless you have a demented gene!
The F words were used way too much. I know this author has a good imagination and command of language and could think of other ways to say things. If you took out the sex and the F words there would be a good story left but it would be short.
Mr. Hollander did a great job. He has good interpretation of character and expression. I just didn't like the book.
The main theme seemed to be about how teens and children are abused. I think it is good to bring that to our attention and the story line was good.
Having listened to all the Harry Potter books, I was really looking forward to this book. After listening to it for 4 hours on a road trip, I'm not sure I'll even continue.
I'm half done listening to this book and I still don't have a clue what it's supposed to be about!
I normally love listening to books while I'm driving long distances. This narrator reading this book almost put me to sleep several times.
I was prepared for JK Rowling's new book not to be another Harry Potter installment, in fact I thought it was a good move for her to go a different direction. After the phenomena that was HP what could she possibly do to follow it up? So I gave a Casual Vacancy a chance. I gave it a chance after a slow start that introduced so many characters it was hard to follow. I gave it a chance past all the profanity, drug use and sex; more than most adult crime novels I listen to. I could have even dealt with the rape scene if it had been important to the story. Unfortunately it wasn't worth it. I get That Rowling wanted to dig into the gritty "real world" after years of fantasy, but she seems to only run to all the things she couldn't write about through seven other novels. she spends the entire novel digging into all the dirt of real life without out even glancing at the good parts. There are no redeeming characters, no one to pull for, no innocent people only victims, no villains just slightly corrupt, incompetent abuser and self absorbed people.
You wouldn't think a small town in the English country side would hold such misery. Casual Vacancy starts like many books, introducing different characters of a small town who seem to be completely unconnected. One local councilmen dies of a brain aneurysms and we begin to see how his death effects them all. The story is slow, but has a sense of building so I figured it was going somewhere. None the characters are completely good or bad, but its their flaws Rowling focuses on. The story ends in a senseless tragedy, which seems to come out of no where and leave you completely unsatisfied. You think something good will come out of this entire mess, but it doesn't. One or two of the characters end up slightly better than they started, but anything to be learned from the book are left to the reader to be decided. The story is told from 3rd person omniscient, and I had a hard time believing some of the characters motivations which got a little annoying.
All that said I somewhat enjoyed it. I was drawn in, I wanted to find out where the much to do about nothing was leading. I was hoping for big payoff, and I was prepared to write a good review. But the ending is just kind of empty and sad. It's like Rowling created all of these characters and then didn't know what to do with them. I noticed in the HP books she had a tendency to add unnessicary story lines in some of the later books. I thought she just like those characters too much not to have something for them to do. Now I wonder if she just needs someone to tell her to focus on the main storyline, even if you have to cut a few thing.