We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
The Casual Vacancy Audiobook

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.
Regular Price:$26.36
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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 (229 )
5 star
 (76)
4 star
 (71)
3 star
 (43)
2 star
 (18)
1 star
 (21)
Overall
3.7 (205 )
5 star
 (69)
4 star
 (53)
3 star
 (49)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (22)
Story
4.1 (204 )
5 star
 (90)
4 star
 (66)
3 star
 (32)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (11)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    J. Fisher 11-12-12
    J. Fisher 11-12-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hated it!"
    What disappointed you about The Casual Vacancy?

    It was miserable, depressing and too many characters in need


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

    The filthy language. I am not a prude, but this book is full of it.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Tom Hollander?

    He wasn't the problem


    What character would you cut from The Casual Vacancy?

    All of them they were so depressing


    Any additional comments?

    Sorry I even started to read it and certainly didn't finish it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Togala, Australia 11-08-12
    Stephen Togala, Australia 11-08-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not expected; Parallels reality for many I'm sure!"

    This is not what I expected from Rowling. Having said that it was not difficult to cast off the expectations of magic and fantasy and become immersed in the lives of a petty few.

    Sadly I could draw many parallels to reality the story could of been about any committee in a closed or small community. The characters came to life quickly and very soon your second guessing only to be thrown down another path.

    The plot is not overly complicated but twists and turns in a way that makes you keep listening and eager to witness the next interaction of characters.

    Rowling is a good writer, this story is full of swear words that serve their purpose in building the characters and their intellect. As mentioned the plot is not so complicated but well written and if you can get over the expletives I challenge anyone not to at least find it interesting and thought provoking.... I'm sure you'll know someone just like one of the characters and identify with another in some way.

    The performance was a little drawn out but listen at 1 1/2 speed and you still get the inflections and character and probably enjoy the story a little more for the pace.

    Overall worth the credit - but that's just my opinion; try it for yourself!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce aka (McGoolie) 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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    Overall
    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
    14
    1
    Overall
    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
    Performance
    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 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
Sort by:
  • Lindy
    Grimsby, United Kingdom
    11/30/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Long drawn out first half"

    The later third of the book is grinning and raw. However the first half is tedious and uninspiring. Overall there are more enjoyable reads. On a positive not it is colourful in its description and uses a broad and rich vocabulary .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Acapella
    Cornwall, UK
    11/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thinking man's Hot Fuzz"

    Engrossing study of modern middle class English provincial manners. And brilliantly read by Hollander. But beware. There are rather a lot of lead adult characters, well over a dozen, all of similar importance to the narrative so it can be confusing keeping track of who is who. Teenage characters are blessedly fewer. Rowling knows how to tell a good story and it all rings true. Though I wonder if middle England is really quite as miserable and desperate as the book describes. Not as funny as Hot Fuzz, and a lot more swearing. So beware of that too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • zomodo
    10/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Surprisingly ok"

    I didn't think I'd like this book but I thought I'd give it a go and I'm glad I did. Lots of story threads and characters which were actually easy to follow. Real, honest characters, who felt natural and were well constructed. Although not very likeable. Rowling is a talented writer, it's not just about Harry Potter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bazzrah
    UK
    10/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gripped. From start to finish"

    Wow!

    I really enjoyed this story.

    Rowling shies through her writing some insight into the everyday depravations and trauma of both young and older folk.

    Excellent, thank you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lynda Kirk
    10/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "just not sure.,,"

    to be honest.... thought this would be something very different to what I got!
    the story is in my view a make believe story of real life, I am no novelist so am not going to say it's good or bad or in between. it's just not what I was expecting from someone who has such favourable fans!?
    I will say I struggled with it, a bit long winded and slow in places, but ultimately, it left me feeling utterly sad! to realise that this 'story' could well be playing out in my community where lives of others are left to run their course with little or no concern from neighbours and or family.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jayne Baker
    9/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great story"

    This is a marvellous story of different lives rubbing against each other in a small town. Each character intertwining with other to weave a rich tale of human idiosyncrasies. With a bitter sweet ending the tale wraps up in a tragic conclusion. The characters are both loveable and despicable and the narration is perfect. A really excellent book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marleen Westli Johansen
    Grimstad, NO
    8/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Spares no gruesome detail"

    So sad. So brilliant. Holding nothing back in describing our bleakest moments. An elegant description of something sordid, but normal. Everyone has something they want to keep for themselves, but the truth always comes out in the end. Through force, or happenstance. She has done it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robbin
    8/5/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Casual Vacancy"

    I started off as an observer, but ended up as a family member.
    What a clever audible book, able to immerse the listener without effort.
    Can only hope for more of the same --- excellent!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss N. J. McGregor
    Bristol, UK
    7/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing"

    Rowling's story is a slow, dull trudge through a suburbia of Middle-class unlikeable stereotypes. The only character I felt anything other than apathy toward was a cliche of a teenage girl who didn't even seem to be the main focus of the story. Not that anyone seemed to be the focus of the story because there are a dozen different characters all vying for your attention. Altogether a sad affair and one I was unable to complete.
    However, Tom Hollander's performance is flawless. He is the only redeeming feature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tapaway
    7/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good listen"

    This was an easy book to listen too. It flowed nicely, was easy to follow and the readers voice was perfect also. Looking forward to adding more to my library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.