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The Casual Vacancy Audiobook

The Casual Vacancy

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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

3.5 (5077 )
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4.1 (4501 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jackie 10-02-12
    Jackie 10-02-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Modern "Train Spotting", Depressing but good"

    JK Rowling has proved that she is a great writer. She has taken a complex story that interlinks the lives of several families in a small town. At casual glance, the families are predictable. However, once the story unfolds, everyone is shown to have skeletons in their closets. If you read the reviews that say this is a dark comedy, don't believe it. It is more like the dismal stories that Oprah tends to feature. If that is your cup of tea, this is the book for you. The narration is spectacular. The narrator keeps you wanting to go up the next hill in the dismal story.

    32 of 45 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 01-07-17
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 01-07-17 Member Since 2006
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    "Really Enjoyed It!"

    I never read the Harry Potter series, my kids were too old at the time and its not my genre. However, I can see from her adult books that JK Rowling is a gifted author. She develops great characters and interesting storylines, intersecting them all. She has great insight into why people behave the way they do. This is a story about a like little town where everyone has some connection to their neighbors and nothing is what it seems to be to. She describes what goes on "behind closed doors". The narrator was excellent bringing all the characters to life. I did not want this book to end!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dbamerrick Waterloo, ON, Canada 10-16-12
    dbamerrick Waterloo, ON, Canada 10-16-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Brilliant"

    I don't often write book reviews. In fact, I think this may be my first. But with everyone writing in about how terrible they thought this book was, I thought I'd chip in my two cents.

    I thought about not reading this book due to the terrible response it was getting from die-hard J.K. Rowling fans. I didn't want this book to change my opinion that Rowling is one of the best writers out there, as it seemed to be doing for so many fans. I thought about it. I'm glad I ignored them all.

    This book will not please everyone because it wasn't meant to. It's like a Tarantino film. It's gruesome, it's hard, and in that way, it is a realistic representation of certain aspects of life as many people experience it in this world. And, like a Tarantino film, this book draws these same hard aspects of life out to such an extreme that it seems to glory in them, making you feel like it's just a little too much -- what? Too much to handle maybe, or too much to believe, or possibly... too much like your own life to really be enjoyable.

    The thing that makes the Harry Potter story so fantastic is that it is, actually, painful to the point of being diffult to bear. My childhood memories are flecked with grief drawn by Rowling's pen. I remember where I was when Sirius died, and Dumbledore, and Snape, and (fleetingly) Harry. I felt real, hard, human grief over a character. I mourned the death of -- what? Dumbledore was never more than a cluster of words on a page. How could I feel real feeling at this fictional loss? Still, I remember my dad explaining my sombre expression at a family function. "She just finished the sixth Harry Potter book," he said, and it was all he needed to say. They understood because they'd felt it themselves.

    That, truly, is Rowling's power. She has the unique ability to make her readers really feel what her characters are feeling. When a character dies in her books, it can feel like a character in our own lives has passed away.

    I would suggest that she has actually honed this power in writing "The Casual Vacancy." Harry Potter was able to escape the post-trauma pain that followed him by throwing himself into school work, solving the mysteries of his world, or exacting revenge.

    Escape is not an option in Pagford. Though many of the characters think about getting out, and some try to, their endeavors are always somehow thwarted. Ultimately they must each turn and face the things that make their lives difficult.

    It is not an easy book, but then, I don't think Rowling has written an easy book since "The Chamber of Secrets." It is an enjoyable read, if you are the kind of person who doesn't mind walking around in the shoes of people who have difficult lives for a while. "The Casual Vacancy" is complex. It constantly encourages its readers to form opinions about characters and organize them into neat little cubby holes. Then, again and again, Rowling throws those opinions into a vortex, leaving us to try and pick up the pieces of our misconceptions.

    Like Zadie Smith's "White Teeth," it's a brilliant reflection of society. You'll like it, if you're the kind of person who isn't interested in an escape.

    24 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glitter Spirit 09-29-12 Member Since 2017
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    "SNORE - Can't Finish - ONLY Negative Review Ever!"
    Would you try another book from J. K. Rowling and/or Tom Hollander?

    Tom Hollander, yes. J.K. Rowling - NOT LIKE THIS, NO! If they have the same richness and suspense of the Harry Potter novels I enjoyed as I kid, I would.


    What could J. K. Rowling have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Anything!? I listened at work and in the car for 2.5 hours. Then, I read other reviews via Google to see if maybe it has a surprise in store. Apparently not. Apparently, she is saying her royalties from the HP franchise allow her to write what she wants. That doesn't mean it's good.

    This book - the first 2.5 hours anyway - is comprised of character descriptions of average, stereotypical people in a small town. So far, a guy has died, and people have gossiped about it. Looks like their might be a battle over who takes his small-town political spot maybe. Woohoo.

    Language is crude. Rare witty moments.

    My mother would call this in movie-format a "slice of life." I can look out my window or at my coworkers for that. If I was READING without benefit of a narrator, I'd not have the desire to turn the next page.

    I think she's trying to make a political statement in their somewhere. Descriptions of places or a rainy day are excellent. Not a three-part book I can bear to finish.

    I loved her writing. This is like Harry's Aunt and Uncle's daily life along with that of their friends and neighbors. Nothing more. Depressing (social service visit of a drugged out mother etc.).


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

    Narrator was awesome. Not sure how he stayed awake though... Since I'm giving up 2.5 hours into this without an understanding yet of which of the TWENTY characters is which, I can't vote for a favorite performance of one...


    What character would you cut from The Casual Vacancy?

    Just cut the plot... Wait... ADD a plot!


    Any additional comments?

    This is the ONLY negative review I've ever written. I've only returned one other book (and that just wasn't my cup of tea, so I didn't review at all).

    94 of 140 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meg 01-30-16
    Meg 01-30-16
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    "Stellar"

    I wasn't sure what to expect of this book before I started it. From reading the summary it sounded like it might be a fun and entertaining story and it is. However, it is also so much more than that.

    JK Rowling excels at character development. Her capacity to create characters who are so complex and relatable has always amazed me. This book is primarily about relationships. But it is also about identity, about friendship, judgement, hate, loathing, and love. It's about people. It's also an incredibly engaging story that captured me from beginning to end.
    I realize that this sort of book may not appeal to everyone. But if you are the type of reader who is interested in rich character development and the complexity of human relationships in all their forms, you might enjoy this gem.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine 03-21-13
    Katherine 03-21-13 Member Since 2011
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    "It's not a wonderful life."
    What made the experience of listening to The Casual Vacancy the most enjoyable?

    Rowling is really good at character. There are several characters that should have been cliche, but were instead rendered in shades of grey. A couple of the characters I found utterly vile, but in a three dimensional and interesting way. Rowling's also good at making readers cry.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Krystal, Sukhvinder, and Barry are my favorites. Barry because of his good heart, and Krystal because she's trying to hard with the unfair responsibilities placed on her young shoulders. And Sukhvinder because she steps up and does some good, brave things.


    Any additional comments?

    People compare this to the Potter books, but I think they're forgetting how dark the Potter books are when they do. The Potter books have murder, child abuse, racism, etc., and she's dealing with similar dark issues in this book. Her admiration of courage, her dislike of pettiness, and her horror at children being mistreated shine through in all Rowling's work.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R.D. Young Chicago, Illinois 12-11-12
    R.D. Young Chicago, Illinois 12-11-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Don't read if you're depressed"
    Would you try another book from J. K. Rowling and/or Tom Hollander?

    Maybe, but I'd probably like to know if it was a little less depressing


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    It was actually what I expected, no surprises


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was allright..consistent with the tenor of the book


    Do you think The Casual Vacancy needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, I really don't need more information on these people


    Any additional comments?

    This book had no redeemable characters. I would never want to meet any of them. This book might actually make for a good mini-series, but as a book to read, these people were ugly inside and out.

    Unlike the Potter series where you cared about a lot of the characters, in this book you kinda wish they'd all go away.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Cordova, TN, United States 11-05-12
    Michael Cordova, TN, United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2007
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    "All the excitement of small town politics."
    Would you try another book from J. K. Rowling and/or Tom Hollander?

    Tom Hollander did a great job, J.K. Rowling delivered a flat story that will leave me waiting for reviews for future books.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Meh. Didn't feel connection with any of the characters.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Caddo Mills, TX, United States 10-29-12
    Jim Caddo Mills, TX, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2012
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    "JK tells the story well, it just not a good story"
    Would you try another book from J. K. Rowling and/or Tom Hollander?

    i would give these two another try.


    What could J. K. Rowling have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    i feel like this was JK's attempt at a greek tragedy. i'm more a fan of her hero vs villan story


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

    If you loved Jim Dale reading Harry Potter you will Love Tom Hollander.


    What character would you cut from The Casual Vacancy?

    i love JK's character developement so i dont see cutting anyone from this story.


    Any additional comments?

    for me this one was blah.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Blacksburg, VA, United States 10-28-12
    Ann Blacksburg, VA, United States 10-28-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Ironic Title, Move over Frank Capra"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I wish everyone could read this book before the elections. As one would imagine if one is familiar with J.K. Rowling as a writer, that her characters are vivid and each important to the story, Especially the character whose death marks the beginning of the story. In essence the story is about how individuals make a difference and are inextricably connected by what they think, say and do. And though this story takes place in a town in England, it is a story that is taking place in communities everywhere. I am a tad reminded of the story of It's a Wonderful Life if Flannery O'Connor had written the script. And though this book inspires it is not one that one will read every Christmas but maybe during Lent.


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

    I would take both Kay and Samantha out to dinner. We would have a lot to talk about.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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