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The Casual Vacancy Audiobook

The Casual Vacancy

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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 (246 )
5 star
 (87)
4 star
 (74)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.7 (221 )
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3 star
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Story
4.1 (219 )
5 star
 (102)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (12)
Performance
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  •  
    Michael 10-01-12
    Michael 10-01-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    9
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    Story
    "Don't have expectations!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Casual Vacancy the most enjoyable?

    Rowling excels at providing the reader with complex characters - almost as if you are first looking at the shadow from a cardboard cut-out, a shallow cliche that slowly grows in complexity for good or ill. I came into the story with few pre-conceived ideas as to what I would find - other than there would be no magic.<br/><br/>Indeed, there was none. There was life, in all its hard brutal reality, starkly painted and unforgiving.<br/><br/>A book to enjoy for its difference.


    What about Tom Hollander’s performance did you like?

    Tom Hollander provides an even pace and warm tones that do not distract from the story.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    debra rosanna, Australia 10-05-12
    debra rosanna, Australia 10-05-12 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Reality - and exceptional insight"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. I can't wait for more people to read this. It's a very true portrayal of marginalization and the light and shadow of intimate relationships.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Both Crystal and Andrew haunt me. Their circumstances, vulnerability and strength evoke empathy and hope for their happiness. Rowling understands duality in humans where the good and the bad sit alongside each other. She shows the irrefutable reasoning behind life choices we otherwise criticize.


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

    Great reader! He easily moves between the accents to embody the characters.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I can't forget the final scene.


    Any additional comments?

    I wonder if the reason for negative reader reviews is due to their expectation of fantasy based literature. The very realist style of this book is its strength.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny Landsborough, Australia 10-31-12
    Jenny Landsborough, Australia 10-31-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    "Why was there no warning re graphic content?"

    This book was so depressing if I had continued listening to it I would have had to go on medication. No likeable characters, no redeeming features for any of the protagonists. I think Rowling's thought process was "What can I write about that's the complete antithesis of Harry Potter" ?

    The writing must be good as I always was feeling the need for a hot shower to scrub clean. I may one day get hold of a paper copy to make sure all the horrible people get their just desserts, but I can no longer listen to it in the car when I cannot fast forward and have to listen to the foul, depressing distasteful things described in this book.

    If I never read another word about adolescent sexual 'awakenings', particularly those of spotty masturbating boys, it will be way too soon. A tired subject that bores me no end and was never worthy of any literary merit.

    Horrible, horrible book. It will be a long time before I spend my money on a JK Rowling book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clare Doncaster, Australia 10-19-12
    Clare Doncaster, Australia 10-19-12

    I'm 40 something female and like to escape into a book. I listen in the car and like a story that either business related or pure escapism.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "don't listen in an open car"

    As I said in the opening the language was quite startling and considering I was driving through a car park listening through the speakers in my car with the roof down, I had to quickly turn it off in case I caused offence. Now I am prepared for open spaces.
    JK Rowlings knows how to set a scene and does it just as effectively in this tale. It is quite a dark story and whilst I am only half way though I really wanted to warn people that they may not want to play it aloud in the earshot of others.
    The characters are great and the story is gritty, would I listen again? Probably not but am I enjoying it, yes.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle 12-03-12
    Michelle 12-03-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Ordinary Story - exceptionally written!"
    Would you try another book from J. K. Rowling and/or Tom Hollander?

    Yes, very well written, just a very trivial average story


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

    Completely.... It was just so detailed about average life!


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

    Vey well narrated


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

    No


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo Holland Park West, Australia 12-03-13
    Jo Holland Park West, Australia 12-03-13 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    145
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    "Slow - but Wonderful Characters"
    If you could sum up The Casual Vacancy in three words, what would they be?

    Different, individual, sad


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I must admit, it was slow to begin with and hard for me to get into - but that is only because it is a style I'm not used to reading, NOT a reflection of the writing.<br/><br/>The ending was heartbreaking, and I expected to be left with something more - but there wasn't and that was a little disappointing, but the story was just that, a story. It had no message or hidden agenda, just a story about ordinary people in a hard situation.


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

    I think he did them all very well.


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

    It made me laugh and cry and angry and lots of emotions. A good emotional roller coaster.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone expecting or hoping for something similar to HP should look elsewhere. It's sophisticated and mature. Not for someone who is squeamish of swearing or sexual reference or abuse. Anyone who feels offended by the harsh brutalities of life should stay away.<br/><br/>For myself, I loved the brutal honesty. I loved that she didn't shy away from the horrible aspects of life. I loved the nature of this book and how she purposefully lays bare those things about life that scare people and the way she shows how those things affect us. There is no sugar coating, and she tackles it all beautifully.<br/><br/>I was heartbroken by the ending, but I was also a little disappointed - it took me a long time to get into the story, but once I was into it, I was committed and frankly I expected a bit more from the ending. However, I now believe there was no specific purpose to this story, it was just a story. And it was a heartbreaking, yet beautiful one at that.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan 10-24-12
    Jan 10-24-12

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    7
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    "If she had used a non-de-plume..."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    ...Maybe it would have been read on its merit rather than its author's achievements.And who may enjoy it more? Not my friends.<br/>I have to admit that I could not finish this book.


    Would you recommend The Casual Vacancy to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. If I do not like it, I do not reccommend.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    matthew PerthAustralia 10-20-12
    matthew PerthAustralia 10-20-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    "no no no crude rude and I hate the C word."
    What would have made The Casual Vacancy better?

    could not believe it expected exciting adult fun and its boring town council with crude words and teenage sex and drug taking.. did not expect it .. I am in my 50's so no child ...


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

    give it a go


    What didn’t you like about Tom Hollander’s performance?

    dull and he even sounded bored with the telling.. but good voices


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

    the amount of the swearing it was toooooo much. I do not care that it is the way of the world now but tooooo much for me. good luck to all that like it....


    Any additional comments?

    got warned sorry I paid to hear this and I have 1000's of audio books from a great variety of authors... including of course Harry Potter.. I did not want another Harry but wanted an experience of sensual adult excitement with no magic written.. I got mmmmmmmm.. new school kids that are rude and crude.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra 10-17-12
    Sandra 10-17-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Sadly disappointing"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If this book had been written without every sentence containing negative sexual content, and instead kept to a story base, it would have been an OK read, a book like many others. I do not think it lived up to her previous writings at all.


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

    J K Rowling has a supreme gift of word use which comes through at times. However, this is so overlayered by the negatives that her gifts unfortunately do not shine.


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

    As above, I did not enjoy much about this book. My least favourite from Audible.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not much


    Any additional comments?

    Having seen a book written by J K Rowling was at last available on Audible I was delighted. Unfortunately, this did not measure up to my expectations. I found the book unpleasant and not worth the credit nor the time I spent listening to it. Out of the 19 hours this book takes to read, I listened to two and three quarter hours, waiting to see if it would improve. It didn't. In my opinion it was a sad waste of talent.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dee McLaren Vale, Australia 10-05-12
    Dee McLaren Vale, Australia 10-05-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    2
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    "Love it"
    What made the experience of listening to The Casual Vacancy the most enjoyable?

    The writing style was great and I found that I was immersed in the story.


    Any additional comments?

    As good as HP

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Miss
    Ashford, United Kingdom
    1/13/13
    Overall
    "Well done JK Rowling AND Tom Hollinder."

    I found reading the book a bit slow going in the beginning but the last third of the book more than made up for the slow start. The story lines that were laid in the earlier parts of the book were sewn together beautifully at the end. Listening to the book made it all come together further more so. Tom Hollinder's narration is A* he gave all the characters more life than my reading of the book could ever give them. I am now looking forward to not only re-listening to the book time and time again but I will also venture to re-read the book as well. If I was to say something negative about it is the amount of swearing, whilst reading the book I managed to skim over the swearing but listening to it outline highlighted just how much there was.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Rayleigh Essex, United Kingdom
    1/9/13
    Overall
    "Good narrator but too many characters in the story"

    Several families in the village too

    Many to get to grips with. Each family is read well by the narrator with good accents . I am plodding on hoping that they all come together at the end .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lucie
    SWANSEA, United Kingdom
    1/9/13
    Overall
    "too much swearing for me"

    This isn't a review as I have stopped listening to it and asked for a return. This is more of a "heads up" to people like me who do not want to listen to excessive use of the "c" word or the "f" word. Perhaps I am a bit too old fashioned for this book, but I don't believe that a book aimed at adults should mean a free pass to put in as much swearing as possible, it's so unnecessary and the main reason why I have stopped listening to it.



    In fact my one star is for the narrator who is very good, however the story is so slow and I haven't warmed to any of the characters. I'd like to know what happens in the end but I will find out via the internet and not by continuing to listen.



    Over all I am disappointed because it is J K Rowling and my expectations were high for this book. I definitely prefer Harry Potter!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    LEICESTER, United Kingdom
    1/2/13
    Overall
    "No redeeming features"

    I have never been so disappointed by a book before. I am a big Harry Potter fan so was looking forward to reading her adult books. However, it is like she has set out to prove that she can write rude words and tackle difficult subjects (she certainly succeeded with the first, but it was like listening to your gran mutter expletives, it just felt wrong). I struggled to get through the whole audiobook, it was only the throught that it must get better that made me press play every day, however, it was in vain.

    Depressing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • barjil
    BEMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
    1/2/13
    Overall
    "Well read....."

    The only decent character in this book is Barry, who dies on the first page so we don't know whether, if he had lived, he would have been endlessly swearing, having sexual intercourse and plotting against everyone else like the remaining inhabitants of this town!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Dundee, United Kingdom
    12/30/12
    Overall
    "Total rubbish"

    I heard that this was not a child's book and was an adult book but this book is total rubbish.

    It relies mainly on soft verbal porn and bad language, the plot is slow and nearly none existent.

    The author is relying on her notoriety to get her through.



    Harry potter, I liked, but this does not deserve the ink or paper.



    I am looking for the return of my money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • MsRanPan
    UK
    12/29/12
    Overall
    "Better and worse than I expected"

    I enjoyed this, I agree that if it had not been written by JK it probably would not have been so popular and the big let down was the excessive overwriting - it sometimes felt it had been written for a GCSE exam.

    That said, I think listening to this helped as I was able to tune that stuff out and the rest I found engaging and interesting. It is about small town politics, examining in depth the various people and their lives. I didn't think the character list was excessive, I managed to keep track of who was who and I liked the diversity of the characters. It built up very well, JK slowly layered the characters so you could form a view of them but then she would make you completely rethink this which I loved and she didn't shy away from the realities of life. I did miss it when it ended and was saddened by some of her decisions which I like in a writer, I don't like to always be given the fairy tale ending because that is not real life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • andziula63
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    12/29/12
    Overall
    "Amaizing !!!"

    Like lots of us I waited patiently for JK new book … Started reading the moment I got it and then, to be honest after few chapters I put it down… It started surprisingly shocking and fast and just slows down and got a bit sleepy. After a while I pick it up again and actually started to listen to it. To my amazement I listen to the whole thing as soon and as fast as I could. Then it got to me it’s like that small sleepy town, something happened make everybody buzzing and after a while everything goes to normal, everyday routine.

    Tom Hollander makes it real for me. It is fantastic book, the characters are real and truth to they life. JK showed us fantastically described almost drown like people, like in HP books, its reality shocked and wonder. She is the Queen of new Fiction. Tom gives them the voice absolutely extraordinarily, he makes is so vivid and full of life and colour…

    I love Pagford with all little houses and all this small towners, with they fake façade houses with all they secrets hidden behind tick curtains… Incredible story line will read again, like everything JK wrote until now. Thank you JK...and thank you Tom

    Impatiently waiting for more…

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joanna
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    12/29/12
    Overall
    "Good honest story"

    I actually felt like JK had done her research for this book. The story line was your classic: meet a lot of characters who then link up in a small town scenario. Good characters, good story, worth a a read/listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • chris
    Dumfries and Galloway, United Kingdom
    12/27/12
    Overall
    "JK Loses Her Magic"

    If, like me, you hope for entertainment and escapism from a novel, then this one is not for you.



    If you're far too happy, and your love for life needs taking down a peg or two, then go for it - you won't be dissatisfied: Drug addiction, child abuse, rape and multiple tragic deaths await you.



    Now that her long relationship with Harry has finally ended, it appears JK is on the rebound. She finds herself enamoured with the low-life scum of the village; ugly, malodorous and utterly unsuitable.



    Very disappointing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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