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The Casual Vacancy Audiobook

The Casual Vacancy

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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for: UK Author of the year – Specsavers National Book Awards 2012

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early 40s, the 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 facade 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 first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish 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?

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

©2012 J.K. Rowling (P)2012 Hachette Digital

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (240 )
5 star
 (84)
4 star
 (73)
3 star
 (43)
2 star
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1 star
 (22)
Overall
3.7 (215 )
5 star
 (77)
4 star
 (54)
3 star
 (49)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (23)
Story
4.1 (214 )
5 star
 (98)
4 star
 (67)
3 star
 (32)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (12)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Andrew 07-08-15
    Andrew 07-08-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It did nothing for me!"

    There was nothing magic about this book. It went on and on and on. When it finally finished I wondered whether the time I dedicated to it was well spent. It was boring. My mind went on a casual vacation while listening to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo Christchurch, New Zealand 06-06-15
    Jo Christchurch, New Zealand 06-06-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it even more the second time"

    Fantastic characters you'll love to loathe. Hard to listen to at times but so compelling

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 01-03-15
    James 01-03-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Rowling's first novel for adults."

    J K Rowling's first novel for adults is a brilliant story that provides readers with a realistic glimpse of the British class system and the huge differences between the classes. The upper class in the small town of Pagford have their secrets revealed by the Ghost of Barry Fairbrother, in the wake of his death. Barry was a town councillor, and upon his death mysterious notices begin appearing on the council website, revealing family secrets that the town would prefer to not have revealed. The Casual Vacancy is an emotional thrill ride and if you live in a small town, you may just wonder what secrets your neighbours would prefer stay buried. A great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DIanne Mead, Australia 11-30-14
    DIanne Mead, Australia 11-30-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Definately not harry potter"
    What did you like best about The Casual Vacancy? What did you like least?

    Very diverse characters who interacted in odd ways - but so depressing!
    Not one real point of happiness anywhere in this book


    Would you ever listen to anything by J. K. Rowling again?

    Yes


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

    No


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No - too depressing


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cil 09-03-14
    Cil 09-03-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    4
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    "Tough at 1st but you fall in love with this story"
    Where does The Casual Vacancy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's an excellent audiobook. told so well by the narrator. I enjoyed it immensely.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I found this book hard to take initially. Confronting is probably the right word. But in the end it's this that drags you into the story. You fall in love with all the characters, despite their immense floors. You develop a relationship with them and want the best for them. You really want Krystal Weedon, the central character and loveable rogue, to catch a break.


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

    I loved Krystal Weedon. You can see her in your mind quite clearly giving authority the bird. Very well told by Tom Hollander.


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

    I could, if i had enough time! 83 chapters seemed a lot to begin with but you find yourself listening to this story every chance you get.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm gonna miss this story, and their characters. Like in all good books you want the story to go on forever.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Perth, Australia 11-23-13
    Sarah Perth, Australia 11-23-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I couldn't even finish it - yawn!"

    I kept waiting for something to actually happen in the story - to no avail. Introduces new characters every 5 minutes to no effect. I couldn't finish it. I went in with open eyes - not expecting anything like HP but still very disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    emily mount eliza, Australia 10-21-13
    emily mount eliza, Australia 10-21-13 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    16
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    Story
    "so many characters!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Casual Vacancy to be better than the print version?

    its probably easier to follow as an audio book


    Any additional comments?

    This book was really slow to start & the huge number of characters made it difficult to follow but once I was into it & knew who everyone was I really enjoyed it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LeahH 09-02-13
    LeahH 09-02-13 Listener Since 2007

    Leah Hobbs

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
    7
    Overall
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    Story
    "Very Enjoyable!"
    What did you love best about The Casual Vacancy?

    I very much enjoyed the characters of the book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The fact that I felt like I was actually there in the rooms with the characters, Rowling's description was so clear.


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

    Crystal... And I was absolutely astounded at how wonderfully Tom Hollander portrayed all of the characters very convincingly, from a 3 year old boy to a gruff old women! BRILLIANT performance, in fact the first thing I did was check out what other books Tom had narrated, I enjoyed his performance so much!


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

    Don't judge a book by it's cover!


    Any additional comments?

    17 hours flew past, not very often a story can keep me till the end with that sort of length. Loved it, more please Ms Rowling!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penelope Adelaide, Australia 08-10-13
    Penelope Adelaide, Australia 08-10-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unhappy Story but incredibly engaging."
    What did you love best about The Casual Vacancy?

    I actually didn't like the story,it was quite sad,however, I couldn't stop listening ! It was extremely well written and the characters were very well developed. An excellent story but very sad. I think if it were a movie, I would have been crying like a baby at the end.


    What other book might you compare The Casual Vacancy to and why?

    I have never read a book like this. i only bought it because it was JK Rowling.


    What about Tom Hollander’s performance did you like?

    Some narrators are awful, Tom did a good job. Voices were good.


    If you could take any character from The Casual Vacancy out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Crystal Weedon, I'd like to be her friend and help her get out of the life that is so dreadful.


    Any additional comments?

    It's worth buying, but read the synopsis first so you know the story line.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 07-01-13
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 07-01-13 Member Since 2009

    An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Completely lost me"

    Sorry Ms Rowling, your Potter series were truly inspired but I have to say this did not work for me on any level. A shame really but as they say you cannot be all things to all people and you deserve all the credit for your past work, stay with the genre is my suggestion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Amazon Customer
    10/5/12
    Overall
    "Stick with it"

    Like some of the longer Harry Potter books, I found this a bit ponderous at first. But the characters, humour and the fantastic way J K Rowling has of drawing things together made for a final 3rd as addicting as any of her previous work. I greatly enjoyed Tom Hollanders reading and accents too. So stick with it if the first downloadable chunk doesn't grab you. I was very glad I did, this is the best book I have listened to this year.

    I was sad to hear that some quarters of the Sikh community have been critical of the portrayal of one of the teenage characters. The same advice applies here too, stick with it - I think the treatment of Sikhism is actually very positive.

    31 of 33 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    United Kingdom
    10/4/12
    Overall
    "'The book to listen to'."

    A five star book with a 10 star narrator, well done Tom Hollander, you made a great book even better.

    I have read so many reviews and as usual they are very mixed, all I can add as both a parent and a 'foster carer' this book is so true to life it will hopefully open peoples eyes to the reality of life for so many kids whatever class or creed they come from. We neglect our children at our peril, thank you

    for pointing this out to the vast majority that hide their heads in the sand.

    This book will be around for a long time to come.

    24 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • Athula
    Abingdon, United Kingdom
    10/1/12
    Overall
    "Fantastic Read!"

    I don't probably have to comment on the mastery of the undisputed "Queen" of fiction's ability. This is undoubtedly a masterpiece. But, here, my comment is on the narration and the narrator. Tom Hollander is just the icing on the cake crafted by Rowling. His reading is wonderful, a la-carte, music to the ears. I hope all narrators use this as a "classroom" lesson on narration. I am glad Audible has added this to their collection (I am sure they would not have missed). For the first time I felt listening to the book is better! Highly recommend. Although I must say, I did not see the point in so much swearing, was it a necessity or somebody out there was trying to prove a point?

    32 of 38 people found this review helpful
  • Audible
    London, United Kingdom
    12/13/12
    Overall
    "Mixed feelings for a book with high expectations"

    A Review by the Audible Staff Book Club:
    About the book:

    The Casual Vacancy really got us talking, we were expecting a lot from Rowling, and had mixed opinions about the results. Set in a small town, peopled with a large cast of not-terribly-likeable characters, we thought the world she created was detailed but unforgiving. Unlike Harry Potter, where her world could be fantastical and wonder-ful, Pagford was realistic, almost brutally so. We all agreed that while JK Rowling is a good prose writer, the size of the cast, though interesting individually, made the thread of the story a bit difficult to follow in audio. As she was so detailed about painting the picture of the individual lives in this small town, we felt like the action dragged somewhat, and all felt like it was a long slog. Rowling’s observations were brilliant, we agreed that she can hit the spot with a poignant one-liner, but overall we felt the book itself - if not by Rowling - would be deemed by many more as mid-tier – nothing extra special or out of the ordinary.

    Narrator:

    All of us were initially surprised that the narrator was male, though we discussed whether he was chosen as the voice of Barry Fairbrother… Our general opinion of Tom Hollander was that he did a good job, especially as we felt the characters as written were a little caricatured. He did not fall into the trap of performing stereotypes, especially in regards to female characters - always difficult for the opposite sex to strike the right balance. If we were able to rate separately for narrator, he would have got 4 stars.

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • h
    London, United Kingdom
    10/14/12
    Overall
    "Brilliant."

    A fantastic story with wonderful characters. I finished it last night and now I miss Pagford.

    I love the multiple perspectives we get from all the interrelated characters. In this respect it reminds me a little bit of Irving Welsh novels, but it is not as brutal.



    Tom Hollander is the very best narrator I've listened to. More from him please!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Miss L V Bennett
    10/10/12
    Overall
    "Excellent!"

    I really enjoyed this book, it is incredibly well written, so much so i decided to write a quick review. Living in Somerset I totally identified with the community dynamics and how the characters operate. The character's are very real, tender, tough, sometimes hideous and always true. The issues are vital and really matter and are explained in a very touching and humourous way. This is a very entertaining, well plotted and important book. I recommend it to anyone who likes reading about people. Oh and Tom Hollander does a great job of bringing it to life.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Athula
    Abingdon, United Kingdom
    10/1/12
    Overall
    "Fantastic Read!"

    I don't probably have to comment on the mastery of the undisputed "Queen" of fiction's ability. This is undoubtedly a masterpiece. But, here, my comment is on the narration and the narrator. Tom Hollander is just the icing on the cake crafted by Rowling. His reading is wonderful, a la-carte, music to the ears. I hope all narrators use this as a "classroom" lesson on narration. I am glad Audible has added this to their collection (I am sure they would not have missed). For the first time I felt listening to the book is better! Highly recommend. Although I must say, I did not see the point in so much swearing, was it a necessity or somebody out there was trying to prove a point?

    20 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. D. E. Wallace
    London, England
    2/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't finish it.."

    Persevered but failed to finish. Brilliantly read but the story was just too slow and lacklustre. However Galbraith I love.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Carol
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    10/22/12
    Overall
    "she's lost none of her touch"

    You couldn't get further away from Hogwarts if you tried, yet the same strain of storytelling genius runs through-that's about the only similarity I can find. JK could have easily decided to hang up her typewriter forever and rest on her HP laurels-good for us she didn't. This woman can't half tell a yarn.

    Mills and Boon this isn't-I'd be putting at least a 15+ rating on this book.

    Hope she's started the next one.



    btw, really surprised about the number of one star reviews-maybe they're from people who are struggling with the book because they haven't seen the film yet?

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Judy Corstjens
    10/7/12
    Overall
    "Well obviously it was going to be competent"

    I've just read the review in the Guardian by Theo Talt, who coined the phrase 'Mugglemarch.' I had almost thought of that myself, and boy I wish I had. But George Elliot had kind eyes for some of her players and I could sympathise with Dorothea and Dr Lydgate, and (call me sentimental) I have to be able to love some of the characters in a novel, to find it worthwhile. Who is there to love in Pagford? So is JKR saying we are all selfish beyond redemption, get real? Please give me nobility in the novels I read, even if it does not exist in REAL life. But, to be fair, didn't put it down except to eat.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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