I saw that this was going to be a book for adults. I interpreted that as not being like the Harry Potter books, which adults enjoyed but were targeted to kids. This book is not what I expected.
I've lived in England and am familiar with many of the references. I would probalby have hung in there but the repetitive foul language and sexual comments were obnoxious enough to get me to stop reading after a few chapters. If Rowling hadn't proven that she could write prior to publishing this book, I would have chalked it up to inexperience. There is no excuse for this one.
The narrator, however, does an excellent job.
I'm surprised the reaction to Rowling's first adult novel has been so tepid. Her skills as a writer, realist, and satirist in "The Casual Vacancy" fully prove the talent hinted at in her "Harry Potter" series. Her ability to lay bare the foibles of human behavior in a scathing and often hilarious manner make her a modern Jane Austen in my eyes, while other scenes are quite emotionally powerful and touching. She has built a stable of complex, interconnected characters who are fascinating in their machinations, and she is surprisingly adept at examining complex social issues like welfare, drug addiction, cycles of abuse, and the burden/responsibility of the disadvantaged and indigent. It's difficult to describe the plot of "The Casual Vacancy" because the squabbling of small-town individuals over a local government seat sounds tedious in the utmost, but believe me when I say the book is anything but boring. The characters are vivid and fascinating, and their town and politics are a microcosm for society and government as a whole.
I also have to applaud the incredible narration by Tom Hollander. He does the accents and voices so well, and gives such an intense sense of humor and drama to the proceedings, it was like watching a play. I was so absorbed that I sat down and listened to the book while doing absolutely nothing else, while usually I would be running or sewing or driving or cooking at the same time. I knew I recognized his voice, so I checked him in IMDB and realized Tom Hollander is the same actor who gave such a creepy, villainous performance in "Hanna" and was so funny in so many comedies I've seen, so it's no surprise he is so highly skilled vocally. He provided the perfect mood and tone for the book.
It is hard to follow. Very boring. Sorry I wasted my money.
Write the book over
A plot. Suspense. A positive outlook. Hope. Interesting characters. Fewer characters. Likeable characters.
I could barely put down the previous series of books by her. This book is so pointless and depressing, I don't think I can finish it. All the characters are annoying. There are too many , so similar that I have trouble telling them apart.
The performer did differentiate somewhat between characters. However, it was difficult to tell who was saying what sometimes.
None of the characters are memorable. There is no obvious lead character. Opposing groups are present, but after 10 hours of listening to it, I can't tell you who is on what side. They're all so boringly similar.
I was not expecting another blockbuster like Harry Potter. But, I was, at least, hoping for a book I would want to finish. This book failed to deliver that minimum requirement.
The space on my hard drive that I intended to fill with a riveting book by Ms Rowling, is instead, filled with this book. Perhaps, I should just erase it, kill it off, and create a Casual Vacancy.
Maybe in an attempt to distance herself from our favorite child wizard, the story has a very real, somewhat depressing tone to it.
Rowling reminds us how "unmagical" can people get - the characters of this book are selfish, small, insecure and misunderstood. I believed her, and gulped down this book in a heartbeat.
Boring, tedious, and drab. I kept wondering "when is it going to get good?" Too many characters introduced too quickly with no essence of individuality that would make them memorable.
If someone were to ask me who my favorite writer is I would respond "JK Rowling," with that said this book is Horrible. I only made it to chapter 8, could not make myself wast any more time I could spend listening to a book I enjoy. Definitly not in the league with Harry Potter. I knew it wasn't going to be fantasy but this book was just plain boring. Sorry JK :(
I can't say it was a bad book. It was in fact very well written. The characters were exceptionally vivid and memorable. However-- I hated it.
Maybe if it had been written under a pseudonym and assigned to me in literature class... yes, I knew it wasn't a Harry Potter book, but it was still a huge disappointment. Pitiful small-minded small-town English Muggles spending 18 dreadfully dull hours showing how pitiful, small-minded, and small-town they all are, with a terribly depressing ending to top it all off... it was NOT what I wanted. I found myself wishing that Voldemort would come along and eat the lot of them.
Disappointed in JK Rowling's "adult fiction" book. The Casual Vacancy fell flat on its face. Too many characters, too predicable an ending - it didn't meet my expectations after her Potter series.
If this were written by anyone other than Rowling, it would be panned outright.
Tom Hollander tried his best to embody the various characters and reads with great diction. He was the one bright spot in this recording.
Tom did a great job. I would listen to another of his performances again.
Disappointed with the outcome, the plot, the characters.