The Casual Vacancy By J.K. Rowling

13497818I hadn’t read anything else by Rowling other than the Harry Potter series, so when I saw this audio book on the library shelf, I thought I’d give it a go.

Stats: Published in 2012 (boy, am I behind the times), print is 503 pages. Don’t remember how many discs but it’s 17′ 51″ long. Narrator is Tom Hollander

Blurb: 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?

What I liked: Most everything about this book I liked. I could tell right away is was written by Rowling – her Harry Potter style of deep omniscient point of view is unmistakable and I think even better in this book than in the Potter series. I recently read Where the Crawfish Sings and I think the author Delia Owens was trying for this point of view (though not deep, like this book) but wasn’t able to pull it off. (I’ll go more into that in a specific review of that book in another post). And what a topic – the death of a small-town politican (or whatever his “seat” was on the parish council – not church parish but district/parish. This is set in England). How does one make a story about a banal subject like that? Well, by creating wonderful, real characters with wonderfully messy lives. I wanted to get to know many of these characters upon first introduction, they were done so well. I think I have to buy this book just to study how she does this.

And the narration of Tom Hollander is superb! Definitely listen to the audio on this one. He’s so entertaining and makes the characters that much more richer.

What I didn’t like: It was a bit ago that I read it so maybe there was something, but it wasn’t enough that I remember what it was.

Rating: I guess I’m on the fringe on this one with Goodreads averg at 3.3/5 and Amazon at 3/5. Were people expecting something fanciful because of her Potter series? I’m not sure. But it’s superb writing (and narration) so I giving it a 5/5

3 comments on “The Casual Vacancy By J.K. Rowling

  1. cindy knoke says:

    I am going to read it due to your review. Thank you. I adore Rowlings.

  2. […] 4/5 (I’ve hit the jackpot recently, two really good book in a row!! (see my The Casual Vacancy review). Maybe I just like British humor, growing up on Monty Python. They seem particularly good […]

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