I'm a corporate training consultant and adjunct professor who loves to read! I'm always looking for the next big thing.
In no way did I expect this book to be anything like (or as good as) the books in the Harry Potter series. Even so, I expected better than what it was. The Casual Vacancy is a dull, slow-paced novel about small-town politics. When a local council representative dies, the council is left with a vacancy. The bulk of the story is about the political maneuverings and relationships among the people expected to fill the vacancy (and their various supporters and detractors). While there is a lot of conniving and backstabbing, it's mostly about petty things, and I struggled to stay interested in any of the characters or their storylines. The book itself does not end with the election of the new council representative, which I had been expecting. Although the reader does indeed find out who fills the vacancy, the book continues on for another 90 pages or so bringing some of the other characters' storylines to an end. Finally, the book ends with a rather odd conclusion to one of the book's secondary storylines--and didn't really leave me all that satisfied. I am giving this book three stars only because the author has given me such joy from the Harry Potter series. Also, the book is incredibly well written--even though it's not a great story. The book probably deserves only two stars, but I want to give the author some credit for at least trying something different.
Yes. I was reluctant based on some of the reviews. Once I got in to the story I could not stop. Ms. Rowling does an excellent job with character development. Tom's performance kept the book interesting. He brought life to the characters.
Barry Fairbrother. His sense of goodness brought balance to the story.
His distinct way of bringing out the individuality of each character. His performance was such that each name was distinctly portrayed in a very credibley way.
No aboubt about it, Krystal Weedon. Her fighting spirit and loyalty were very admirable.
Maybe in England
He was fine, it was the story.
Do you also want to know my shoe size? Give up already. I'm not an editor and I just didn't enjoy the book
patches_gizmo just posted a review for the wrong book, how do I change that. What doesn't Kill her is the wrong wrong review
This book has not just a main character it has many many main characters, it gets confusing following. After finishing the book I am relistening to it, because I know I missed something. There is no real clear plot. There is a great deal of details on all the characters in the book, but who is the main character? Not sure if it would have been better with a different narrator.
No! I was very disappointed and quit listening after Chapter 20. Too much foul language and had difficulty following the story line . It is not necessary for a book to contain a majority of words that begin with "F" to make a good "adult" book.
Yes, as I totally loved Harry and will hope she begins to reflect some of what made Harry so good in future books.
Don't even remember the character of Tom Hollander.
Yes, the story has many threads and plot lines, so given my poor attention span, it deserves a couple of listens to get every nuance straight
Hard to compare. It is a kind of social history story with a believable cast of modern day characters with modern day problems. I do not want to denigrate either story, bIts a bit like the Archers on steroids,
The social worker who came down from London on a promise. Seems like a genuinely decent person having a series of bad breaks.
This is not a pleasant story, the good guys end up really badly, but that is life. Strong language and uncomfortable situations, but there is no gratuitous violence, sex or language, people really do speak and act like this.
Sentient Being, Planet Earth
The narrative is excellent. The Reading was wonderful. The story went no where and it was "Predictable". I imagine it's unfair to JK as so much is now expected of her. I'd skip this read.
Cannot imagine who would enjoy this.
The story line; it did not peek my interest... depressing...
voices & inflection
Scratch it and start over...
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 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.