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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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    89
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    44
  • 2 Stars
    18
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    23

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    104
  • 4 Stars
    68
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    33
  • 2 Stars
    5
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Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • David Morfill
  • 04-07-13

A lovely surprise

Like many I'm sure, I was slightly sceptical about how JK Rowling would manage to get away from the Harry Potter style of writing but this book was amazing. The first 4 letter word was something of a shock but it soon became clear just how much grit and realism she had managed to cram in. The characters were flawed and, in some cases, downright horrible, but there was never a doubt about their authenticity and the narrative flowed along brilliantly.

I recommend it wholeheartedly.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • David
  • 04-07-13

Fantastic change of pace from JK

Loved it. Rowling proves her versatility in a character led story of village life.

  • Overall
  • Rhea
  • 04-07-13

Quietly Brilliant

The pace is fairly slow yet you have to keep listening. The characters are very realistic as the story portrays a believable and insightful view of society. I kept thinking about the story for days after I finished - a sure sign of a good read.



If you're looking for an all-action adventure this isn't for you, but if you want a beautifully written and moving, character based book, I can't recommend it highly enough.

  • Overall
  • Suzanne
  • 04-07-13

Tad disappointing!

I did not take to the narrator of this book and it put me off listening to the whole thing, I may go back and persevere but I kept falling asleep on initial listen!

  • Overall
  • Katharine
  • 04-07-13

Not what I expected

I chose this book because of the author and her previous books. I wasn't expecting Harry Potter - but I was very surprised with what I read. As a previous reviewer had put- you have to stay with it. I am a social worker and the storyline about this side was very true. I sometimes found the language a bit much. But overall I enjoyed it.

  • Overall
  • Alice
  • 04-07-13

Disappointed

I really enjoyed the Harry Potter books, so being an adult, I thought I was sure to enjoy a book written for adults by JK Rowling. However I found this disappointing. I found the story bleak and her evident dislike of all the characters distressing.



I have given two stars because, in spite of the above, I was engaged by the story and wanted to complete it.

  • Overall
  • April Cottage
  • 04-07-13

Was not sure but

Not a fun book, but how life probably is. Very moving as well as stirring up a variety of feelings about the various characters.

  • Overall
  • Nic D
  • 04-07-13

More enjoyable than expected

I am not a Harry Potter fan, but having heard that JK Rowling was releasing a book for adults I was intrgued. When I saw the size of the actual book I changed my mind - and downloaded the audio book!

I wasnt disappointed, the orator is easy to listen to (which in my opinion can be the difference between enjoying and hating a book). He isnt too OTT with the voices but really makes you believe there is more than one actor reading.

As for the book, there is a lot of time where nothing happens and it is a lot like a village soap opera. I gusss growing up in a small town helped me buy into the premise.

Give it a go, real life sucks and this novel has it all!

  • Overall
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-07-13

what an amazing book

Great surprise. Amazing characters. It is a very small story, very local yet it describes the British society in rich colours. The characters are amazing, especially the bullying descriptions. Rowling describes the essence of community and makes it interesting. Very little action or happening, yet a great read, one of the best audio books I listen to.

  • Overall
  • Dr
  • 04-07-13

not one for the kids

This is no children's story with strong language and drug use. The book is relentlessly dark, not one to listen to after a hard day. So why listen to it? Because it is superbly written by a class author and is a great exploration of the petty thinking in small town politics. J K Rowling peels away the veneer of respectability to show the skeletons in the cupboards. The characters are truly awful and seem fantastic, until you watch the news and reflect that nice people do terrible things. Definitely one to listen to, then follow up with some Wodehouse as an antidote.