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.
Yes because I love JK, which is why I gave this book a chance.
After reading the enchanting HP series this book was just to dull to catch my attention and the book had so many characters it was hard to keep track of them all.
I think the story was to blame.
I would not have given this book a second look if not for the fame of J.K. Rowling.
I have not read (physical- or audiobook) any of Rowling's Harry Potter books, but I have seen a few of the movie versions when they were offered on TV. The movies were excellent, primarily for the special effects, secondarily for the story and characterizations.
So why would I think J.K. could write a non-Potter book that I would enjoy? Beats me. I just got swept up in the Rowling phenomenon, and I wish I hadn't.
None of the characters in this book evoked any strong feelings one way or the other. If anything, I was glad I didn't personally know anyone like these people. They are petty and nasty. The rare glimpses we get of any uplifting human qualities of the personae is fleeting and quickly squelched by their boorishness.
There is not one strong man in this novel, and only by a stretch could you say there is a strong woman. The men are oafs. The women are slatterns. I figured that out pretty early on, but pressed on in hopes that J.K. would manifest some ... magic. Nope.
Other reviewers of this audiobook have drawn comparisons with classics in some genre which I, not regretfully, don't see.
I thought I had learned my lesson about the perils of shopping for books by author-reputation when I bought Grisham's "The Broker" (what a disaster). Apparently I had not, but now I'll try harder to divorce fame from talent when I shop for books.
Elderly, bookish person, omnivorous reader, only bothers to review books she considered worth reading.
The best feature of this book was the author's writing style: "shown rather than told". The portraits of the many couples and small groups of people whose conversations carried the story along were so revealing of themselves and the unfolding situation. No long, prosy expostulations were needed and, wisely, few to none were imposed. .
Ordinarily, not finding an appealing character in the first few chapters dooms any book to unfinished oblivion in my library. But Rowling presenting her characters with only the bare minimum of adjectives, allowing the reader to know them almost entirely through their own words, developing a strong picture of a community through those conversations was so fascinating that I found myself reluctant at 3 a.m. this morning to shut down my Kindle and get some sleep.
I don't enjoy unpleasantness as entertainment or art, so did not find a single scene I could savor. Reminded of the awful day I squirmed my way through the "realist rooms" at a modern art museum, I was more like mesmerized by the author's ability to communicate economically as in a series of paintings all these unhappy people's numb to miserable interactions. But Tom Hollander's reading was so expressively appropriate it brought Rowling's scenes, ranging from mundane to excruciating, to vivid life. I'm sure the author groomed each of those scenes mercilessly into the work of literary art it is.
The ending, of course, was emotionally draining, effectively devastating. I'll need many hugs to put it behind me. Throughout, Casual Vacancy satisfied the non-judgmental people watcher in me, cringing notwithstanding.
Reminded me of reading Shakespeare where everything is revealed through the characters' own words. This book may not be the most beloved ever written, but it will stand as an example of effective, maybe even relentless literary style. I prefer books that leave me with a sense of hope, a redemptive moment to savor. Rowling has created a work of literary art which will grow more important and more admired as time goes on, probably will be required reading for writing and literature classes. I don't like this book of Rowling's, but I respect it just as I respected those really ugly realist paintings hanging in the museum. It's a magnificent piece of work. I'd suggest she take time out to read some Dickens and a few chapters of Winnie the Pooh before she writes her next novel just to recover the hope, humor, and courage that pervaded her previous books. Now that she's said what she needs to say about the hard times that haunted her (may she be healed of her pain), it's time to add some of the qualities that allowed children and adults alike to fall in love with her wizarding world. Adults are not that different from children. They need to be able to find the good in their world and in their books. In conclusion: WOW! What an awesome, incredible, powerful read. Please don't do this to me again.
The is a good book. It is also a disturbing book. If you are sensitive about cursing it isn't a book for you. This book clearly illustrates the consequences of the choices we make and actions we take. It is full of times that you want to grab a character by the shoulders and ask "what were you thinking". It is a great depiction of the hell that many of the poor live in. I can't decide if it is intended to shine a stark light on life as a dependent of the state or if it is to show how the system keeps families in poverty. It could be both.
Narration was very good.
absolutely. I think Rowling is a very creative writer. However, she needs to stick with fantasy.
She could have made the story at least a little interesting.
Probably not. I don't care for narrators that go from one extreme to the other in volume. At one point it's as if he is yelling at you, and then the next moment you can't hear what he's saying.
sadness and disappointment.
I hope Rowling will come up with a new series that is as creative as the Potter series. I think she is brilliant, but am very disappointed in this book.
Never having rad any HP I had no expectations. However, based on this book alone, I'd never pay for another of Ms. Rowling's books. I saw a TV interview she did a week before the release so I was prepared for an unhappy ending. Even so armed I found the reading arduous. I ached for a lighter moment sprinkled in here or there. But it was non-stop gloom & cussing. I think Ms. Rowling may have been exorcising some personal demons here. Her interview definitey gave me that impression. I know real life isn't all roses & sunshine, but reading a book is supposed to be entertainment, recreation. This book did not provide the sense of escape I most enjoy about reading. Once I started I had to finish but it was a chore. I feel badly for whoever inspired this novel.
I tried and tried to like this book...kept it going in the car, but its so boring and long winded and hard to follow! I could NOT finish it!!! Sigh...
Unlikeable main character and uninteresting story.
Nothing more from this auther.
I listened to only the first half of this book. Nothing was progressing in the story. Disliked main character. She was a mean, and bitchy person. Was not nice nor friendly to anyone. the rest of the main character's had no substense, I only liked the 2 teenagers. I had to stop listening, story wasn't anywhere and boring and could not tolerate main chacter any longer. I would not recommend this book to anyone. Perhaps the auther should stick to books more like Harry Potter.
What a disappointment! After the amazing Harry Potter series, this book was a horrible work. It was dark and disturbing without one ray of sunshine. There was no mystery, no intrigue, and the entire first half was focused on the gossip of a small town. Then when you think it might actually redeem itself, it gets worse. If you like filthy language, sick and twisted humanity, perhaps you will enjoy this. I did not find it to be an enjoyable read.
It might have been better if there had been some kind of clear hero, but every character was disturbing in their lack of integrity. I hate to think any town would be so totally lacking in goodness.
If this is the trend she is taking, absolutely not. The next book would have to be vetted by a healthy sample before I invest any of my money in it.
The narration was okay but not something to get lost in.
Not really; I had to force myself to read this one. There are so many good works of fiction available that I only finished reading this one out of loyalty to my opinion of Rowling's work.