When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?
Blackly comic, thought-provoking, and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults.
©2012 J.K. Rowling (P)2012 Hachette Audio
After reading a good few reviews of The Casual Vacancy on Audible I was somewhat hesitant to choose this novel as my first ever audio book. I am extremely happy that I did, however!
For those who prefer very plot-heavy texts (or who are expecting Harry Potter), The Casual Vacancy might disappoint. For those who appreciate beautifully close attention to detail and an in-depth look into characters' psyches, I would recommend this book. I never once found myself bored or felt that the action moved too slowly. Rowling's frequent shifts from one character's point of view to another held my interest and kept the story flowing.
I found myself quite attached to the characters, in a way that I might not have been if I had simply read the book (I think I would have read some of the characters to be more harsh and abrasive)- this speaks to the skills of narrator Tom Hollander. For this reason I would highly recommend getting the audio version of this book rather than the print.
I am a 60 year old female, recently retired. I listen to audiobooks usually while travelling, or while exercising. It keeps me motivated to walk or exercise. I live half of the year in Mexico and half the year in Alberta, Canada.
I listened to this story while travelling from northern Alberta to northern Mexico. The 4 days went by quickly while I got to know and sympathise with the characters. They were well developed and the listener could make out the characters immediately thanks to the excellent narration of Tom Hollander. The intricate dynamics between the characters was also easy and interesting to follow. Themes of poverty, intergenerational despair, abuse, mental illness, the complications of bullying, and stories behind closed doors intertwine towards a dramatic ending. It is a story that helps one to realize that things are not the way the seem to be. However, it is a story from England, so the English accent is a bit to adjust to, as well as references to things British.
At first I found the characters to be too everyday...too ordinary. There were no heroes, no one was glamorous or brilliant. But, one by one, each character became part of a fascinating tragedy. Everyone had a public side. Everyone had a private side. And the ways in which the characters related to one another were always complex and often heartbreaking.
I doubt if anyone else will think of Jane Austen, but that's what came to mind. J.K. Rowling simply wrote about ordinary people involved in everyday events. And what a tangled web she wove! The characters became quite compelling. I'm still thinking about them weeks after finishing the program.
I liked the reader very much. He brought the voices to life without slowing the narrative.
I once thought as I listened that an alternative title would be "The Ghost of Barry Fairbrother"
A well developed plot which combines humour and hardship in a thought provoking social commentary.
A must read.
The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults and to me she has bridged the gap and proven she is an author through and through. This book explores just about every social issue in the world today and she does an excellent job of making the reader see all view points from each character. The language was very over done and one reason for three stars. I do not need to hear the "f" word a million times to get the point. You also have to stick with the building of each character in very minute detail as she skillfully intertwines each one. In the end you will be surprised at how each one and every decision affected the other. Worth the time to listen to just be prepared for some spots that seem mundane, there is a purpose for them.
I didn't expect the story line! After the author wrote the Potter books, I was so impressed with the change in Genre.
The accent and his tone when he was speaking of the different characters
The girl (can't remember her name) who was stuck in an envirounment she had no control over. I would discuss with her how to break the cycle she was born into.....her ending broke my heart!
The vast array of characters were intertwined in a complex web. Because I'm not great at absorbing information aurally, it was hard for me to keep the characters' relationships to one another straight through an audiobook.
The first third of the book felt like drudgery, but I was determined to listen in full and I'm glad I did. Rowling did not disappoint. An avid HP fan, I was skeptical about what Rowling could accomplish for adults. There really is no overlap between HP and The Casual Vacancy except for the omniscient POV. Vacancy explores characters more deeply with an omniscient narrator who rotates through the townspeople.
This was a great book, but one I wish I'd read in print because I'm quite sure I missed some of the intricate details Rowling laid out. If you are better able to focus than I, you will probably enjoy this slightly more than I.
J. K. Rowling's ability to weave so many characters into intricate plot and subplots was my favorite part.
I'm surprised that a male narrator was chosen. The characters roughly bounce between male and female, with slightly more than half being female.
If you are looking for Hogwarts you won't find it here! But if you want a change of pace this novel is salacious and gossipy with no hero in sight. However, I found that even without someone to root for I couldn't put it down.
The people are believable and the story presses forward to a gloomy, but inevitable conclusion. The issues are compelling.
Now that you ask, I wonder why it was I persisted in finishing the story. Probably because I hoped for redemption somewhere, preferably among the kids.
The Doctor's explosion at the Council meeting.
Write more, but please some of the cleverness that lead to Diagonally.
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