The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

13497818Book Synopsis:

503 pages | Published 27th September 2012 by Little, Brown and Company


When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, 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 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 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?

Review: 4.5 stars

We all know J. K. Rowling so incredibly well from the Harry Potter series, I think there would very few people in this world who don’t know who she is or can’t understand a Harry Potter reference. This book is nothing like Harry Potter and I worried about whether or not Ms. Rowling could pull it off. I’m such a fool for ever doubting her and I will definitely not be making that mistake again.

The Plot :
This is her first adult book and it’s basically about a man who dies and leaves behind a seat on the Parish council. This book goes into the nitty gritty of the villagers and how they deal with the loss of a member, the open seat and each other.
The plot moves along pretty slowly. If you like constant action then this isn’t the story for you. This focuses more on getting an accurate depiction of each character, letting you into their heads so you understand their every thought and action. I thought it was great. It was all about gossip, secrets and scandals. But not overly dramatic ones, it was very mundane and ordinary stuff – unsatisfying marriages, teenage woes, the poor vs the rich etc. This is real life action which I just found to be so interesting but I understand that this might not be for everybody.

The Writing :
In classic J.K. Rowling style the writing is flawless. Her descriptive sentence and metaphors constantly impress me! I can picture the town perfectly in my mind; the little streets, houses, shops and the river are all painted perfectly. Better yet, I can see each character vividly; both their physical appearance and the inner workings of their mind. I just worship the ground upon which this amazing author walks upon!

The characters :
J. K. Rowling introduces you to a lot of characters in this book. They come from a range of ages, socio-economic backgrounds, genders, family situations, etc. You get to know every character very well throughout the book and I think this was done excellently! Each character had their own unique voice, motivations and goals. Never once was I confused about who was speaking or did I feel there was any inconsistency with their voices. I felt like I knew each character personally and I applaud J. K Rowling for making me feel that way.
In terms of how I felt towards the characters, well there is not one character in this book that I think is truly likeable. They are all gossiping, conniving, self-absorbed bitches and assholes, from the elderly to the youths. The only decent one in that town seemed to be Barry Fairbrother and he dies on page 2! Each character is incredibly flawed. At one time or another, I greatly disliked every one of them. Obviously there were some that I liked more than others and was more sympathetic towards but overall there was no one character who I loved. The thing is though, each character is so real ! You get an insight into their minds, you understand the thoughts behind their actions and they all replicate the real world so well!

After just finishing the book, I am currently sitting here in absolute awe. I was just taken on a ride that I was not at all expecting but couldn’t have asked for more. If you are interested in books that do more of a character insight than fast-packed adventure, I would 100% recommend you take a look at this one!

I will be attending a talk by J. K. Rowling on The Casual Vacancy next weekend and I am so excited to get an insight into what she was thinking when she wrote this book! I’m even more excited to get to meet one of my literary idols!! 😀


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5 thoughts on “The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

  1. I’ve heard so many mixed reviews of this book. It’s nice to read a pretty positive one, even though I’m still not sure if this book is for me… Also, I’m really jealous you get to see/meet JK Rowling!

  2. I felt a bit sorry for Rowling with the release of this book. She seems to have had a lot of critical reviews but I wonder if people weren’t just expecting another Harry Potter. After the success she’s had it must be really difficult to write something different. I still fancy reading this so thanks for the positive review.
    Lynn 😀

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