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The Casual Vacancy | [J. K. Rowling]

The Casual Vacancy

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (3346 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Stephanee Gurnee, IL, United States 10-29-12
    Stephanee Gurnee, IL, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Definitely Different"
    What made the experience of listening to The Casual Vacancy the most enjoyable?

    Tom Hollander was Great!. Probably the reason why I made it through the first two hours of the book.


    What does Tom Hollander bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Helps bring out the true feelings in the characters


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul BRIDGEWATER, NJ, United States 10-29-12
    Paul BRIDGEWATER, NJ, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Epic Story on small town life..."
    Would you listen to The Casual Vacancy again? Why?

    No. Because I already know the story!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Rachael Weiden because of how sad her story was.


    Which character – as performed by Tom Hollander – was your favorite?

    Fats


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Rachael tried to protect her brother from being taken from their family because of neglect.


    Any additional comments?

    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...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laurel Danville, IN, United States 10-29-12
    laurel Danville, IN, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2010
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    15
    3
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    Story
    "She tells a good story"

    If you like a tale about people and their lives, you will like this book. If you need more action like a murder mystery, maybe not so much.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert C. Kitchell WICHITA FALLS, TX, US 10-29-12
    Robert C. Kitchell WICHITA FALLS, TX, US 10-29-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "CONFUSING START ... STRONG FINISH"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, an intriguing story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Myriad of themes intertwined.


    Have you listened to any of Tom Hollander’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, I have not.


    If you could rename The Casual Vacancy, what would you call it?

    The Ghost of Barry Fairbrother


    Any additional comments?

    You have to "wade thru" the first 8 chapters as your mind is "flooded" with so many characters. Readers will have to work hard at remembering all the characters and which ones belong to what family and how their roles fit into the overall story.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 10-29-12
    Lisa 10-29-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    9
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    "Worth the read"
    If you could sum up The Casual Vacancy in three words, what would they be?

    Sprawling social indictment


    Any additional comments?

    Some of the critics have been overly harsh, in my opinion; while some of the characters are a bit flat, still this is an engaging book that dissects small town life, class

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Midwest Lady Indiana 10-29-12
    Midwest Lady Indiana 10-29-12 Member Since 2015

    Reader. Painter. Newspaper columnist. Nurse. Humane Society. Lake life. Walker. Happily remarried - was a widow.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    86
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    "I was impressed!!!!"
    If you could sum up The Casual Vacancy in three words, what would they be?

    Intricate. Compelling. Powerful.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The Casual Vacancy is a simple, intricate and insightful peek behind closed doors in a small town in England (but it could have been written about any community). Without ripping the scabs from wounds it showed the bottom level of motivation and heart, or lack thereof. In delicate layers it revealed the deeper side of each character. It is hard to put into words but there was something intriguing and beguiling about reading about these characters.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The funeral.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Miles and his wife being able to come together again after estrangement. One expected them to fall apart but they sucked it up and communicated. The teens learning there was a price for revenge. The growth of compassion among the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    I bought this because of the stellar review in Time and because I adored the Harry Potter series. She DID it! She transitioned to adult fiction and lost NOTHING. This is not Harry Potter but the optimism for growth and triumph over odds remained. I will not say this well, but I found this book so compelling I listened straight through and it lingered with me for days, even weeks. While portions dealt with serious life issues, disappointment, and dissillusionment, it was a shining example of faith in people, optimism and how she did that is beyond me. I was knocked out by this book. It deserves every single word of pre-publication hype and every excellent review. There is something special about this book, it pulses with life and it glows in your brain long after "the end". It has a gentle flow and progression so don't expect an action adventure. It is very much worth spending your credit on this listen. Brava JK Rowling. You wrote another hell of a good book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki Allen, TX, United States 10-23-12
    Vicki Allen, TX, United States 10-23-12
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    1
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    "Disappointed in JK"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I am not sure who would enjoy this book, it was slow and boring and I don't think JK brought it together very well.


    What was most disappointing about J. K. Rowling’s story?

    It was a long story with many characters, but none of them really carried the story and she did not make you really care about any of the characters except Crystal, who had a small part.


    What didn’t you like about Tom Hollander’s performance?

    I dis-like books where the story is read in a basic mono-tone voice with little expression.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment!!!! I excepted a little more from JK.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't buy the book. I listened to it on audio and out of the 18 hours of story, only about 1 hour was interesting and worth my time. If some you know has already read the book, just have them tell you about and save your time and money.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nessa 10-23-12
    Nessa 10-23-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
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    Story
    "Complex Characters"
    What made the experience of listening to The Casual Vacancy the most enjoyable?

    The narrator was great, enjoyed his inflection. Imagined each character.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Complexity of the characters, the need to pay close attention in the beginning to what was going on with whom. The whole story played out to a shocking end really, but ended abruptly.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Plantation, FL, United States 10-22-12
    Anna Plantation, FL, United States 10-22-12 Member Since 2010

    AnnaBella

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not for Potterheads. So glad I gave it a chance!"
    Where does The Casual Vacancy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book is fantastic. Rowling is an amazing observer and translator of the human condition. Her characters are multidimensional and contradictory giving the story an authentic foundation. Obviously, the end of the Harry Potter series gave everyone who enjoyed them a strong desire for more. However, The Casual Vacancy is does not fill that void for those who crave a protagonist overcoming great obstacles to find within himself that which allows him to triumph. This is a book for listeners who are interested in exploring the interior lives of others, and, consequently, themselves. Each outwardly unpleasant character struggles with their own pain. No one is pure evil, no one is a saint, they are all human and they all bleed. Understanding that even our greatest enemy can be vulnerable enough to evoke in us a genuine empathy is the strongest theme in this book. For those who like Rowling only for her limitless power in creating a new universe, this is not a book for you. It is not about escapism, it is about taking an honest look at your inner self in the safety of your own mind. This story is for those readers who value a book that can make you reflect on your own state of being, on your own judgements and values, a book that can change you for the better.Take a chance on this one, I am truly glad that I did.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It is very hard to have a favorite character, in the same way that it would be hard to like anyone if you knew all their darkest secrets, desires and weaknesses. In the spirit of Fats Wall, I choose Krystal Weedon for her unapologetic authenticity.


    Have you listened to any of Tom Hollander’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not heard Tom Hollander's other performances, but this one was great.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KOH 10-22-12
    KOH 10-22-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    14
    4
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Don't expect Hogwarts"
    What made the experience of listening to The Casual Vacancy the most enjoyable?

    The characters are real people. Ms. Rowling has described them in detail, warts and all.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Casual Vacancy?

    Without spoiling what happens, the last few chapters are like a runaway train the plot elements build and interact, I could not stop listening.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Both the Dinner Party from Hell and the Birthday Celebration were excellent.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I cried at places, however according to Ms. Rowling in the NY Times she did also.


    Any additional comments?

    I know that my views are in the minority with so many negative reviews already. It's not Harry Potter and the Pagford Parish Council.; it wasn't meant to be. Give the story a chance, you may be surprised.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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