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The Casual Vacancy | [J. K. Rowling]

The Casual Vacancy

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.
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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

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  • mrs
    derby, United Kingdom
    10/27/12
    Overall
    "the casual vacancy"

    i was expecting something amazing from this author and was extremly disappointed, i read it all the way through to give it a chance and was glad when i finished it. all i can say is , please stick to harry potter and the likes

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Jessica
    Royston, United Kingdom
    10/24/12
    Overall
    "Brilliant Characters, Great Story."

    I'd tried to ignore the reviews of the book as JK Rowling's first novel for the adult market was always going to be criticised more sharply than it should be (not a British trait to expect success to follow success I suppose), so that I could listen to it without expectation.

    From the first chapter The Casual Vacancy enveloped me in the warm cosiness of JK Rowling's writing style and Tom Hollander's voice is just perfect - richly, mellifluous one minute then shrieking West Country teenager the next.

    The characters are a delightful mix and are quickly identified as likeable oddballs or awful sorts. Each character has a moment of spotlight within the story so that even with the worst of these people you can at least understand, if not empathise with them.

    A story that seems to start so gently steam rolls to an unexpected (or totally expected depending on your take) climax which at the very end nearly had me in tears on the train.

    What's more....everyone knows or lives in a town like Pagford, because it turns out that Pagford really is like any other town.

    Bizarrely, Jay Z and Rhianna's "Umbrella" will always remain with me as a result of listening to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alan
    Perth, United Kingdom
    10/22/12
    Overall
    "Very different from Harry & Co"

    I didn't know what to expect from this book, and listened to it out of curiosity more than anything else. I was pleasantly surprised. Despite the fact that I found it difficult to empathise with any of the characters I felt compelled to find out what happens to these unfortunate citizens of Pagford. The final denouement was breathtaking. I only wondered if all small communities have so many unlikeable residents. I hope not.



    Tom Hollander's narration is excellent and makes the whole of Pagford come to life.



    This is a good read and is strongly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kate
    Flinders, Australia
    10/22/12
    Overall
    "Fantastic!!"

    I'm missing Pagford already!! Reminiscent of Jilly Cooper in someways. There were a lot of characters to get to know, but with JK Rowling's phenomenal character development and great story telling I loved it. Great narration too. Please write more very soon, JK!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lesley
    Wrexham, United Kingdom
    10/10/12
    Overall
    "Llife's too short.............!"

    Much anticipated - very disappointing and depressing ! Gave up as life's too short to wade through such a heavy going book ! Seems to be a wave of books out at the moment looking at the darker side of society - Recommend Lional Asbo by Martin Amis instead as characters far more accessible and engaging. Note to Authors: in times of economic depression and joblessness, can we please read something more uplifting !

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Lymm, United Kingdom
    10/9/12
    Overall
    "Worth sticking with"

    I wasn't sure what to expect. It's somewhat ponderous at first (the first half of the book is quite slow).. but that's mainly due to the fact there is a vast cast of characters, split into different family groupings, over several generations, each with their own back story which needs setting out. These all intersect/interact with each other at various points until you end up with a very large spider's web.. and it takes time to build the mental picture. (It's possible that it's slightly easier to follow in the written form as you can easily skip back a page or so to check some connection or other) I contemplated stopping after the first few hours, but I am glad I didn't as things do pick up once the complex relationships have been established. Well written and highly descriptive, but certainly very different in style and tone from her previous books with a very dark view of people, relationships and society in general.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Venessa
    milton keynes, United Kingdom
    11/7/12
    Overall
    "yawn!"

    after a week i have not got past chaper 8 keep being put to sleep the story is not easy to get in to and the voise is dull not worth it

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Elaine
    Cannington, United Kingdom
    2/18/13
    Overall
    "What is she trying to prove?"

    Whilst I did not expect this to be the next HP novel, I just feel that JKR has gone all out to prove that she is more than a children's writer. She really does not need to prove this at all. I have had to stop listening now. I have got to the end of the first part and I really do not want to go further.

    Her writing is still top notch. There is no denying her skill as a "wordsmith" and as usual, the characters are well rounded and believable. BUT, I have been completely put off by the constant sexual references, bad language, and general "Fifty Shades" type of allusions. I want to listen to a good book, not the details of a characters nether regions, and if I wanted a sexy book, I would have bought one of the "Fifty Shades" tomes (I'd rather stick pins in my eyes!). I am sure she is trying to make the book true to life, and maybe I am being naive by not wanting to recognise the seedier side, but that's me. I think she has gone a little too OTT in trying to establish herself as an adult novelist. We don't need it.

    So, very disappointed overall. I might go back to it in due course. And I am afraid Tom Hollander's voice is a bit boring!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Panda
    2/1/13
    Overall
    "Dull and dismal"

    I struggled to keep going with this audiobook and was sorely disappointed. It seemed to wallow in the mundane and contained every stereotype of the less fortunate in life. I found it very hard to keep my concentration listening to this depressing depiction of life. None of the poetic imaginative writing I have come to expect from JK Rowling sadly.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    United Kingdom
    10/30/12
    Overall
    "More than half way through and I can not finish"

    I have been an Audible customer for years and go through dozens of books a year. However this is first time I have not been able to finish a book.



    I saw some of the mixed reviews, and thought the poor ones were just people who were expecting Harry Potter and disappointed not to get Harry Potter. Where I knew ahead of time this was not Harry Potter, so thought I would give it a go.



    However, this book to me is just a collection of people in a village that together have all the despicable and horrible traits modern humans can have. I was trying very very hard to make it through the story and not judge it until the end. However there is no main character, and there is not a single character in the story that I care about at all. When I realized that no matter what ever can happen to anyone, later in the story, I just do not care at all.



    I will say that I am not a fan of Soap Operas, and that is all this story seems to be. But maybe if you are a fan of a Soap Opera like story, you may really enjoy this. Rowling is very good at getting in the minds of completely different characters with very different thoughts and motivations. All the characters in this story are rich, and believable. They just are not the type characters I personally care about getting to know.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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