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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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (211 )
5 star
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3.6 (189 )
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Story
4.0 (187 )
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Bruce 11-05-12
    Bruce 11-05-12

    Successfully against the odds I learnt life's path, rules and history by osmosis due to a modest yet real reading barrier. Now I can embrace history, classics and pulp with the spoken word. Thanks Audible

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Nobody is left out. Every family has their secrets"
    Would you listen to The Casual Vacancy again? Why?

    I never listen to books a second time but i would go back to parts of this book as new circumstances need review.


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

    Confronting domestic violence and self abuse and trying to think like the victim Andrew Secvindar


    What about Tom Hollander’s performance did you like?

    Tim was very well rounded. Each character was believable


    Who was the most memorable character of The Casual Vacancy and why?

    Secvindar as her dyslexia and lack of self belief stemmed from parents too proud to recognise their daughter needed support not threats.


    Any additional comments?

    From fantasy (Hogworts / Lower Whinging) to reality, (Packford / Yarville) with the same naturally magical, literary skills.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deb West Pennant Hills, Australia 11-05-12
    Deb West Pennant Hills, Australia 11-05-12

    Wife, mother, nanna, part time actor, avid reader, world traveller, golfer, bridge player, lover of life.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    31
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    "There was a Big Casual Vacancy left"
    Would you try another book from J. K. Rowling and/or Tom Hollander?

    I didn't enjoy this book because I was waiting for something to happen and it never did. It was boring and I lost interest. The Characters were too detailed by J.K Rowling for me. I loved the Potter books but this one didn't do a thing for me.


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

    Yes the Potter books maybe


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Tom Hollander?

    Yes


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Casual Vacancy?

    Too many to mention


    Any additional comments?

    This book was about awful people in an awful place. The language was not necessary and although the beginning started off with someone dying the story for me never really went anywhere and I lost interest in it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynne Sydney, Australia 10-29-12
    Lynne Sydney, Australia 10-29-12
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    4
    2
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    "a fascinating study of small town life"
    If you could sum up The Casual Vacancy in three words, what would they be?

    kept me interested


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters


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

    Krystal


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

    life in a small town


    Any additional comments?

    The study of the connections between the different social claseses and the insight into the characters' lives seemed to come from inside knowledge about life in a small town

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maureen Margaret river, Australia 10-29-12
    maureen Margaret river, Australia 10-29-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    12
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    "Great insight into people"

    After a slow start and the need to change "parish council" to "local/shire council" in my mind ( ie not parish as in church) I became totally absorbed by the characters and insight into the politics and motivation of people living in a small community. No one is all good or all bad and this book is agreat reminder and insight into people.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly Broome, Australia 10-29-12
    Beverly Broome, Australia 10-29-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Rowling's Dark Side"
    If you could sum up The Casual Vacancy in three words, what would they be?

    Character, compulsive, insightful.


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

    Rowling is like Isabel Allende. She gets to the dark heart of people through compelling story telling, beautiful language and gut wrenching insights.


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

    This is my first long audio book. I expected to get bored by Tom's voice but his interpretation of the script and the characters had me agreeing and disagreeing with him. I really enjoyed what he brought to the story.


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

    I would take Crystal of course.


    Any additional comments?

    I now have to go and read all of the Harry Potter books just to get more of this woman's writing style.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A Oamaru, New Zealand 10-29-12
    A Oamaru, New Zealand 10-29-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "A must have story"
    Where does The Casual Vacancy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Absolutely spellbinding, the best yet


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

    the whole story is an intermingling of various lives, pulled together in Rowling's inimitable style.
    There was no best moment, as the whole book is a best moment.


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

    Definitely, but listened to it spread over a few days. It is a book I shall listen to again quite soon.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are a little bit prudish or find sexual innuendos hard to deal with, then be aware in the book there are many references to this type of behaviour and ferocious swearing.
    These are not inappropriate, as this reflects the way many people live, It is a poignant story, I would liken it to a modern day Dickens, making observation on life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alice 11-02-12
    Alice 11-02-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
    Overall
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    Story
    "J.K.Rowling's Soiree into adult fiction"

    A typical small town with it's small town politics and it's seedy underbelly. You will find small communities like Pagford and The Fields all over the globe.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Sydney NSW, Australia 10-31-12
    Amanda Sydney NSW, Australia 10-31-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow !"

    So what does a person who never need work another day in her life write just for the sheer joy of writing ?

    This book is gritty. It is about death, drug addiction, poverty and the fears of the middle class.

    I loved it, so well written and gripping.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virginia 10-25-12
    Virginia 10-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    302
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    310
    83
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    47
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    "Weepingly Poignant"

    This is the most beautiful and confronting book I have read this year. The narrator is simply perfect. The story is heart-breakingly lovely. So sad to say good-bye to these characters. I did not want the book to end. An absolutely brilliant book. Brava!!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 41-49 of 49 results PREVIOUS145NEXT
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  • Earache
    3/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gritty and very entertaining."
    What did you like most about The Casual Vacancy?

    The story, I found it very compelling, I listened to it when ever I could. I also watched the mini TV series, which was disappointing in comparison, it is nothing like the book.
    I found myself siding with various characters in the story, very good.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The detail in each part of the story, in particular Sucvinda's struggle with school and home life. Also Terry and Krystal's relationship, this was very graphic.


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

    Krystal Weeden, Tom captured her attitude very well, in general Tom did a great job with all the characters. On occasions I found myself defending Krystal.


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

    No, I don't have the time for one sitting, however I did listen it while walking our dogs twice a day, also while driving.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a very good book, I almost felt part of the story, in a way I got to know, like/dislike the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ash
    3/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Glad I decided to give it a chance!"

    I waited a long time to give this book a chance. I grew up with Harry Potter and I guess I was nervous about Rowling writing something that wasn't fantasy and more for adults. I'm really glad I gave it a chance. The writing was superb which only proves that Rowling is more than just an author of fantasy. There were several well developed charcters. It was hard to stop listening because I was so into the story and I felt something for most of the chacters. I loved some, I hated some and some I both liked and loathed.
    Other than that I felt it was a well developed plot with some suprises. The story itself is somewhat depressing, but I still laughed a lot.

    Tom Hollander is a great narrator and I really enjoyed listening to his voice. I would want to listen to more audiobooks narrated by him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    3/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "disappointed"

    I found the story hard to follow, it may read better. Tom Hollander kept me listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • SuzieR
    3/1/15
    Overall
    "Gritty and authentic"

    Unexpectedly brilliant. Magnificently written. Heartbreaking and realistic with characters so real you may actually know them. An absolute must read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • a j stevens
    2/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very sad but quite clichéd."

    None of the characters in the book are particularly endearing in fact most are quite pathetic or just plain horrible. It is worth a listen though if you feel like a long depressing tragedy read wonderfully by Tom Hollander then this is pretty ok.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Mum
    2/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great listen and performance."

    I was hooked from the start. The narrator was great.
    My only gripe is all the swearing in JK Rowling's adult novels, I get she's trying to set up a character but sometimes it can be too much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nik Nik C
    UK
    2/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I really enjoyed this book & had empathy for the characters.


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

    I don't want to say as I don't want to spoil it for future readers.


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

    Tom Hollander's voice is easy to listen to & I felt his narration added to the experience.


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

    Yes definitely. I won't say who or why as I don't want to ruin it for future readers, but there's a part in the book where I definitely had a tear or two in my eyes.


    Any additional comments?

    Now enjoying watching the small screen version.
    For those wondering where they've heard Tom Hollander's voice (as I did), among other roles, he's Culter Beckett in Pirates of the Caribbean lol.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs A
    Nottinghamshire, UK
    2/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dull... dull...DULLl!!!"

    There is a LOT of filler rubbish!!!
    I read this because of the BBC drama. I was intrigued... I wish I had saved my credit. Its not great - AT ALL! I found myself skipping thru it because there was just so much filler.
    A lot of background information about chararcters that, quite frankly, I didn't care about because they were just tooooo DULL to be cared for! Not only that there seems to be a lot of people!
    The story - when you can actually find it - isn't that bad. NOT great, but not bad.
    The idea that badly treated kids want to right horrible things about their parents on a blog, is a nice idea - OH WAIT... HANG ON A MINUTE... wasn't that an episode of the Simpsons about 10 years ago??
    Maybe not an original idea after all then Ms Rowling!! *shakes head*
    The swearing, and in particular, the much overused use of the "C" word is just completely unnecessary!
    I am all for using bad language in literature (who am I to argue with Shakespeare!), but when it is just used for the shear hell of it, it gets my goat!
    I will never bother reading another JK book again... Its just too boring!
    the rape scene is also not necessary either - its just there for the shock factor. To be honest, it didnt shock - it just BORED!
    Perfomance wise it was brilliant! Tom Hollander was a very, very good narrator - shame he didn't have a decent book to actually narrate! I will seek more from him.
    Overall, I give a 3 - this is solely because the narration was good. If it hadn't have been for Mr Hollander, i would have ended the book after the first 2 hours. He and he alone got me through this tripe.
    Ms Rowling - Never again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ian Frost
    2/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Made by the narration"

    I originally purchased the book when it came out but just did not get into it. I think I was distracted by the negative reviews. But with the TV show looming I thought I would try again.
    I am so glad I did and that I combined it with the audible version. Tom Hollander was just remarkable and his soft sardonic voice was simply perfect. It made the whole experience for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ellie
    2/18/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Split decision -do I love it,or hate?"
    What did you like most about The Casual Vacancy?

    The story flowed easy and fluid.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Not sure really .


    What about Tom Hollander’s performance did you like?

    Everything-Tom Hollander is an excellent narrator-will definitely be looking out for more read by him.


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

    There were a few moments that were funny and made me laugh-and some that were equally sad.


    Any additional comments?

    I am really undecided on this one.I did not know what to expect when I bought this .It was the name J K Rowling on the cover that made me buy it.But I have to admit the first half of the book made me think I was listing to an audio soap.Lots of going in and out of everyone's lives,but no plot at all.It was Tom Hollander;s excellent narration that made me continue,I am glad I did-Around the 300th page it picks up and moves fast. I was the same way. Rowling does a lot of character development and little plot development, but when the plot finally unfolds, it is all worth it. The way she grasps human nature.... It's really worth it, but it does seem slow as hell with no real plot. If you're expecting a murder-mystery novel;, you will be sorely disappointed. If you're hoping to be transported to another magical adventure, you'll receive an even greater plummet back down to earth. Gritty, realistic, layered portrait of a small town in crisis. In the fallout of parish councillor Barry Fairbrother's death, the stories of a diverse cast of unhappy people are woven together: some likeable, most not. The upcoming election for Barry's empty council seat fuels a sea of pettiness, gossip, and self-interest, and long-simmering resentments come to a head. I went into this book expecting to hate it, and I'll admit, it started off pretty slow. and I did for the first half-I was about to give up when it picked up and moved faster. As the story progressed, each character grew more and more, and I became emotionally attached to a couple of them,. This is one of those books that I know I'll fully enjoy the second time I read it,more than the first listen ,as this time I admittedly did tune out at various points,finding it hard to concentrate as nothing was happening,since now I know all the characters it'll be much easier to follow.I am overall glad I continued and not give up and asked for a refund of the credit...Give it a go if you are looking for something different,but be warned ,it does take a while to get going.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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