The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling’s long-awaited first book for adults, came out a few weeks ago to mixed reviews. Well, I’ve read it and I think it’s brilliant.

Reading it, you would never in a million years guess it was by the same author as Harry Potter and I think that’s proof of her skill as an author. Not being the same as Harry Potter doesn’t make it any better or any worse.

The Casual Vacancy is a simple story. It’s a story about people. You’ve probably heard that it is all about the death of a parish councillor and that’s basically what it is. But at the same time, it’s so much more.

Barry Fairbrother, the parish councillor, dies suddenly and the book is all about how his death affects people in the village. Some are devastated, others see it as an opportunity, but it affects them all one way or another.

It has a huge cast of characters, who all have about equal weighting in the story, and I must admit I was struggling to keep up with who was who at first. Most of the characters are middle-aged parents and their teenage children. They are pretty much all flawed individuals. There’s doctors, lawyers, business people and teachers. There’s domestic violence, drug use, affairs and self-harm. So much goes on behind closed doors and, just as in real life, the other characters are largely unaware of what their friends, colleagues and children are dealing with.

My favourite character is Krystal Weedon, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who was sworn, bullied, flashed and fought her way through school. We should dislike her – we wouldn’t want her to be friends with our own kids, yet Rowling manages to make us care for her.

I’m not going to give the story away, but I would most definitely recommend this book.

Have you read it yet? What did you think?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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15 Comments

  1. “There’s domestic violence, drug use, affairs and self-harm.” Sounds like your average episode of EastEnders!

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  2. I already think that the woman is an absolute genius so I am looking forward to reading something different from her. Great review x

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  3. I suppose it does, James! But it is so much better.
    I think she’s a genius too, Nikki and wouldn’t hear a word said against her. It is VERY different – a huge amount of swearing – but it all fits with the characters.x

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  4. Got this one on order from the library (there’s a bit of a queue). Sounds like it will be worth the wait.

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  5. Definitely will be worth the wait! But I hope you’re a quick reader, Erica – if your library is one of those that won’t let you renew if someone has reserved. It took me four weeks to read,even though I loved it and was desperate to keep going. Probably because I spend too much time blogging!

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  6. My local library will only let you borrow new releases on a One Week Loan. When I complained I couldn’t read 500 pages or more in that time they just said I should read faster!

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  7. Ridiculous! Who has time to read 500 pages in a week?! I would love to, but am way too busy! (Also do too much blogging, too much tweeting and too much reading and commenting of blogs)

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  8. Glad someone else loves it! I tweet one other person who’s read it and she wasn’t that impressed. I don’t know anyone else who’s read it.

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  9. Thanks very much, Carole, I was intending to go and look for your link – I hoped nobody would beat me to it with this one!

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  10. thanks for linking this in. I have just started it and will be interested t see what I think – I have read quite mixed reviews of it so far. Cheers

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  11. I still am not sure I will read this. I see so many negative comments, but then positive ones as well. More negative, though…thanks for your thoughts.

    Stopping by from Carole’s November Books I Loved. I am in that list as #2.

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews
    http://silversolara.blogspot.com

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  12. Thanks very much for your comments, ladies. Reviews have been mixed, haven’t they? But I absolutely stand by it, I LOVE this book! If you don’t like swearing and stuff it’s not going to be for you though.
    Welcome, Athena! Lovely to have a new follower.

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