Great writers like Hemingway, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald et al really give you the viewpoint of the main character or characters and you see the world through other eyes, with their motivations and feelings and reactions. Here Rowling does the incredible feat of totally getting into the heads of at least a dozen characters and weaves a fascinating tapestry. It's like The Great Gatsby and Crime and Punishment and Catcher in the Rye put together, "on steroids." Of course, that takes a certain deliberate pacing to accomplish that but that's cool - this is literature, not an adventure story, and I savored every moment.
I'm actually glad that she made such a radical departure from the Harry Potter genre here (though I was a big fan of them too) - like an actor shedding type casting, she is free to go just anywhere now with her next one, and with her prodigious talent, I am looking forward to that even more than before.
The narration, too, is spot-on.
The book is excellent and the reading was enjoyable. It was perfectly tailored to the mood of the novel and the listening experience was delightful.
In the middle
Horrible - Definitely wanted a different ending or more to the story.
Fats because he thought he was all that but really isn't.
This story is tied for first place for all the audio books I've listen to so far. The other book is "the Help".
He really brought all of the characters alive for the reader. And in this book, it was all about the characters.
While the story was gritty at times it was impossible to put down. It was a lot like going past a bad car accident... Impossible to look away from.
took a long time to get into the story. about midway it picked up, and was worth the read
Audio Books: Sanity is hearing voices in my head.
About half-way through the book I realized two things: first, the characters populating Rowling’s suburban Pagford were an entirely depressing lot, and that Rowling had no intention of revealing their better selves. After that I realized that probably this microscopic (and yes, often tedious) examination of the complex nuances of their tragic faults was essential, and without it the climax would not resonate. I decided I was willing to give Rowling the benefit of the doubt, and stick it out. I'm glad I did. Rowling is an extraordinarily gifted observer of the human condition – a talent that gave the HP books their edge, and this story its raison d'etre. With deft and unaffected details she peels away layer upon layer of each character's social facade to reveal deep inherent flaws and their painful origins. Those observations are at once brutally unapologetic and dispassionately expository. Without them, the "casual vacancy," (both the literal and metaphorical) at the heart of the story would lose its potency. Like a reverse denouement, the myriad layers of minutia are gradually piled high enough to provide a vantage point necessary for the reader to fully appreciate the tragedies that bookend the story. When the climax is reached, there is nowhere to look except back at that pile of ignobility, and realize that, while the first tragedy was an act of fate, the second could only have been the product of everyone’s worst selves working in concert. It's a point worth making. If you want a happy ending, this is not your story. If you can take your truth in the bare-stripped, relentless, and brilliantly revelatory flavor, and are not uncomfortable contemplating life’s bitter lessons, read on.
Tom Hollander's reading was without flaw. His gave vibrant believability to each character without gratuitous dramatization, or a single narrative misstep. I was astonished when, two-thirds of the way through the book, I realized I had not once “noticed” his narration at all – which is, for me, the highest praise. He moved so seamlessly in and out of characters, that between his narration and the utterly authentic and unfiltered voice that Rowling bestows to each character, I felt a little like a demon, occupying each soul in the scene at will.
Without commentary or editorial, Rowling reveals quotidian, suburban, predictable little Pagford, with all its pain and pathos laid bare, to be a microcosm of the stagnant social unconsciousness in which quiet tragedies are steeped. To view it so vividly and immersively was both unnerving and profound. I won’t soon forget this book.
good character study
the little boy's drowning and his sister jumping in to save him
He did such a good job of changing his voice to indicate different characters.
Kind of shocked by some of the language but it fit the characters.
The characters were so well developed that I felt I might recognize them on the street.
Tom Hollander was Great!. Probably the reason why I made it through the first two hours of the book.
Helps bring out the true feelings in the characters
This was all and all a good book although a bit depressing, but good to read for reality to real life instead of a happily ever after. If you are listening to this the first couple of hours were a bit difficult for me to get through, but after that I just had to know what was going to happen next.
No. Because I already know the story!
Rachael Weiden because of how sad her story was.
When Rachael tried to protect her brother from being taken from their family because of neglect.
Only downside is that there were so many characters that the book gets a bit confusing when you don't listen for a whole weekend - trying to remember who is who...