I quit listening to this book about 1/3 in. The characters were all so depressing and dysfunctional I just couldn't listen anymore. I read for pleasure, so when a book doesn't fit the bill I move on to other books.
I have not read the Harry Potter series, and therefore had no particular interest in reading any of J.K. Rowling's "adult novels." I came upon this one literally quite by accident, when my husband and I were stranded on a mountain top on Vancouver Island with a dead battery in our rental car. Fortunately we found shelter in an empty ski lodge where this book was on a shelf among many others--I became immersed in it while waiting 2-1/2 hours for the tow truck, and was very sorry to have to put it down. As soon as I was able, I started it over in the audible version. It is a compelling story about small town politics, parental incompetence, cultural chasms between middle class and the poor, gender relations, bullying, and poverty--among other themes. Two of the strongest messages have to do with how otherwise well-intentioned (and not so well-intentioned) parents have no idea what is going on in the lives of their children and how they damage them in their ignorance. Another theme is how little middle class people understand the challenges poor people face, and how difficult it is to uplift themselves from the cycle of poverty. A third overriding theme is the utter hypocrisy of the middle class. This book is a real page-turner, and though many of the characters are despicable people we "love to hate," in the end they become more humanized as well. None of us is perfect. We love to gossip because it makes us feel superior but we don't know how much damage we can do.
One of the greatest strengths of this audible edition is the narrator. Tom Hollander captures the essence of each character in his voice regardless of age, gender, local/class accents. I have been listening to audible books for about 15 years, and he is one of the very best, if not the best, I've ever heard given the challenges of representing such a large array of voices. Thank you for this wonderful experience!
Easy to read or listen to, Rawlings excellent style. I think that this was either therapy or trying to brake a type casting, definitely very different subject and language content then the Harry Potter series.
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Her diversity of character's gifts the reader with an identity to ride through the story with, until a realization of human-failure is present in all. Beginning with a whisper thought of, 'please-someone-pay-attention' in the first sections to the urgent voice, 'Someone NEEDS to Pay Attention', in the final chapters. An epic small town failure by the full range from teenagers through to village denizens. Rated my top Summer 2016 read.
I'm a world traveler and avid reader. I come here when life doesn't give me time to turn pages :)
I was very curious about Rowling's A Casual Vacancy and I knew it would be very different from her famous Harry Potter series. She has proven herself to be able to cross genres and audiences. This book is not for children, to be sure and is set in real life. The way she wove together the lives of the several different characters was fascinating. I only give it 4 out of 5 stars because it was full of cursing which may not bother some as much as me. I could have done with less, although I can tell that Rowling was going for real life and not shying away from the rawness of it. So at the same time, I admire that.
The narrator was excellent. He voice was very easy to listen to and he did a fantastic job of giving each character their own voice and nuances.
I've always loved JK Rowling . I even listen to her when she wrote under her synonym of Galbrath. Her books are entertaining , however this story was just the biggest downer. Her characters were very true to life . JK Rowling's understanding of human nature is astonishing. but the whole book just depressed me. So many times I just wanted to say forget it. That's all I can say .
JK Rowlings look into the ripple effect that one man's death makes in small town England.