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
I had to be talked into the Harry Potter phenomenon, but once I got into it I became obsessed. So, naturally, I was hesitantly hopeful about Rowling's foray into adult fiction, even though I was still mourning the end of the Harry Potter books and films.
I am mourning Harry Potter no longer.
Don't get me wrong. This is nothing like the Harry Potter books, and if you're looking for a children's book or even an adult fantasy book, this isn't the one for you. However, if you're looking for a complex analysis of a small town, with incredibly profound character development, and shifting viewpoints that illustrate the human weaknesses behind each of our personal and political views, then you will not be disappointed.
About halfway through, I tried to slow down, not wanting it to end, but eventually I just gorged and finished it. Rowling is an incredible storyteller, and her carefully crafted characters will stay with me for quite some time.
The narrator is good as well, and though I don't have a keen ear for accents, there was a difference in classes when he spoke, which rang true to me.
No one can say that J.K. Rowling cannot conjure up a good story, and the Casual Vacancy is most certainly a good story. The plot is every bit as intricate and twisted as any of the Harry Potter books, the characters are fully drawn and believable, and the action keeps you in suspense, waiting for the multiple threads of narrative that Rowling lays out to align and spontaneously combust. You can feel that explosion coming early in the book, as layer after layer of the peaceful veneer of small-town life in the English countryside is peeled away to reveal the simmering cauldron of anxieties, neuroses, overblown egos, class and racial tensions, and suppressed rage that lies beneath.
This is most definitely a novel for adults, with sex, drug abuse, profanity, rape, suicide, and difficult adult situations replacing the wands, brooms, creatures, and spells of the Potter series, but I suspect that there is much here for the 18 to 20-somethings who grew up on Potter to dig into. Much of the action revolves around and is driven by several teenagers coming to terms with adult feelings and adult responsibilities while struggling to deal with adults in their lives who are at their mildest somewhat whacky and at their worst very dangerous. Guess who turns out to be the heroes?
This was an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable listen, made all the more so by the skillful and sensitive narration of Tom Hollander.
Dislike! Was VERY disappointed in this book! It seemed like the "back story" was written for a compilation of sad/tragic news stories. There was no plot or story line...just a saga of bad circumstances and choices where there was not only no "magic"...there was no hope! Hopefully anticipating the next book and a recapture of the wonderful writing style proven in the Potter series! There's so much imagination and talent...please let us see it again!!
Not from my perspective!
I don't think the foul language was completely necessary. I've now heard some British expressions that I'm pretty sure I should repeat...but not completely sure what they mean! :-(
Maybe if I had been a Harry Potter fan I would appreciate this book, but I have never really wanted to get involved with the group, however I trusted those who did, had reason to love it! But if this is the best the author can do for adults, I will remain not being a fan of J.K. Rollins. This is a troubling book. The language is horrible, full of the 'F' BOMB! It was troubling on so many levels. Mainly, if she thinks it takes filthy language to be entertaining, I will continue reading books that aren't. Just terrible! The story was depressing, I enjoyed nothing about the book, I actually had to force myself to finish it!
the distressing story. The horrible language. You would think she could explain and portray her characters without the f bomb. Some of us, don't' use or need to hear it every other word to know whats going on! We have imagination and can figure out if the author is good enough, the story without the filthy language. Maybe she should read "Dickens" or do at least a refresher course on truly good 'prose'.
nothing...he should not waste his time reading this stuff out loud!
Anger, because I thought I would be entertained!
Don't waste money or a credit on this book, unless you have a demented gene!
The F words were used way too much. I know this author has a good imagination and command of language and could think of other ways to say things. If you took out the sex and the F words there would be a good story left but it would be short.
Mr. Hollander did a great job. He has good interpretation of character and expression. I just didn't like the book.
The main theme seemed to be about how teens and children are abused. I think it is good to bring that to our attention and the story line was good.
Having listened to all the Harry Potter books, I was really looking forward to this book. After listening to it for 4 hours on a road trip, I'm not sure I'll even continue.
I'm half done listening to this book and I still don't have a clue what it's supposed to be about!
I normally love listening to books while I'm driving long distances. This narrator reading this book almost put me to sleep several times.
I would definitely listen to it again because I like a good story well told -- and that's what this is.
There's a funeral scene near the end where one character recalls her lost friend in better times, pushing back against systemic b.s. with sass and humor and guts. That recollection will stay with me.
No, but I intend to. he's very good.
Krystal. Because she's smart and gutsy and full of heart.
I glanced through the bad reviews before downloading this book and almost skipped it because they were so vehement. I'm so glad I didn't! This has nothing to do with HP; my advice is to think of this writer as someone you've never heard of and take the work on face value. It's a book filled with people most of us can recognize, some of them honorable, some of them wretched, some of them just lost. The prose is fine and the dialogue rings true.
For those who say it's all just ugliness and vulgarity, I strongly disagree. I love this book.
I was prepared for JK Rowling's new book not to be another Harry Potter installment, in fact I thought it was a good move for her to go a different direction. After the phenomena that was HP what could she possibly do to follow it up? So I gave a Casual Vacancy a chance. I gave it a chance after a slow start that introduced so many characters it was hard to follow. I gave it a chance past all the profanity, drug use and sex; more than most adult crime novels I listen to. I could have even dealt with the rape scene if it had been important to the story. Unfortunately it wasn't worth it. I get That Rowling wanted to dig into the gritty "real world" after years of fantasy, but she seems to only run to all the things she couldn't write about through seven other novels. she spends the entire novel digging into all the dirt of real life without out even glancing at the good parts. There are no redeeming characters, no one to pull for, no innocent people only victims, no villains just slightly corrupt, incompetent abuser and self absorbed people.
You wouldn't think a small town in the English country side would hold such misery. Casual Vacancy starts like many books, introducing different characters of a small town who seem to be completely unconnected. One local councilmen dies of a brain aneurysms and we begin to see how his death effects them all. The story is slow, but has a sense of building so I figured it was going somewhere. None the characters are completely good or bad, but its their flaws Rowling focuses on. The story ends in a senseless tragedy, which seems to come out of no where and leave you completely unsatisfied. You think something good will come out of this entire mess, but it doesn't. One or two of the characters end up slightly better than they started, but anything to be learned from the book are left to the reader to be decided. The story is told from 3rd person omniscient, and I had a hard time believing some of the characters motivations which got a little annoying.
All that said I somewhat enjoyed it. I was drawn in, I wanted to find out where the much to do about nothing was leading. I was hoping for big payoff, and I was prepared to write a good review. But the ending is just kind of empty and sad. It's like Rowling created all of these characters and then didn't know what to do with them. I noticed in the HP books she had a tendency to add unnessicary story lines in some of the later books. I thought she just like those characters too much not to have something for them to do. Now I wonder if she just needs someone to tell her to focus on the main storyline, even if you have to cut a few thing.
I don't know who would enjoy this book. It is confusing and disappointing!
I think if she really wanted to write an adult book and make it in a different genre, she should have published under a different name and seen what would have happened. I feel like she only got published because of who she is.
I am not blaming this story on the narrator. I think he did fine with the material provided.
None that I can think of.
I think that if this book would have been by anyone except J.K. Rowling it would never have seen the light of day!
I REALLY WANT MY CREDIT BACK! ABSOLUTELY WASTED!
It isn't 'Harry Potter' and it isn't magic... but it is a interesting social commentary with a full cast of characters. I enjoyed this book, with all the character flaws and human condition. I will continue reading JK Rowlings because she can tell a story.
I read other reveiws and was worried, but am glad I relied on my gut instinct to trust this story teller to live up to her talent. Another good book by one of my all time favorite authors.
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