The Casual Vacancy

by J. K. Rowling

Little, Brown And Company | September 27, 2012 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

The Casual Vacancy is rated 2.8214 out of 5 by 56.
A big novel about a small town...

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?

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.

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: September 27, 2012

Publisher: Little, Brown And Company

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0316228559

ISBN - 13: 9780316228558

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 1 out of 5 by from Harsh The Casual Vacancy was a horrific read which left a lingering sadness for days.  All the characters are intertwined or connected in some way, doing bad things to one another, themselves, friends and foe alike,  sabotaging any good that may come from well meaning intent, of which there is little. The few innocents in the storyline are eventually sacrificed, to the detriment of the story, even though many of the main characters are given ample opportunity to save the day, avert total disaster, save a life, time and time again.  The innate selfishness, lack of compassion, evil, and very often cruel natures of the characters is sad.  It would seem, the only good character was killed before we, the reader, got to know him, and all the goodness he represented, did and was died with him. I have been telling people not to read this book.  I burned my copy, as I would not want to be responsible for ruining anyones' day. I give it one star only because I have to rate it in order to post.    
Date published: 2014-07-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Rowling does well in first adult novel When it was announced in 2012 that J.K. Rowling was set to release The Casual Vacancy, a book geared towards adults, people predictably rushed to pre-order it. I didn’t, knowing I could wait until the paperback was released and enjoy the book more objectively after the fog of hype dissipated.  The book received mixed reviews, and I after finishing it myself, I can understand why. Rowling’s attempt at an adult novel is not as dynamic as her Harry Potter series. The main thing to remember when reading this book is that you are NOT buying Harry Potter for Adults. Quite simply, the characters are not as interesting, and the story line is not as intense or as suspenseful. That being said, I did enjoy this book nevertheless. Set in a fictional small town, in England, called Pagford the story starts with a city councilor named Barry Fairbrother dying from an aneurism. His seat now vacant, the town now must fill his spot. Fairbrother was instrumental in trying to keep The Fields, a rough area of Pagford, as a part of the town. He grew up in The Fields and made something of himself, and wanted to show the people there that they, too, could do what he had done. The stories that unfold and characters you meet are “ordinary”. You have neighbours fighting with neighbours, teachers fighting with students, parents fighting with their children, mixed with the drama of who will replace Fairbrother. Notably lacking in the story are sympathetic characters. Everyone is a bit self-centred, ignorant and/or mildly depressed. There are unhappy marriages and people with secrets they don’t want their friends and neighbours to know. It appears as though Rowling wanted to separate herself from the magical, mystical world of Harry Potter and wanted to show real life. The result, oddly, may have related too much to people’s actual lives rather than providing her readers with an escape which is what they loved about her teen series. But again, for some reason, I found myself pleased with The Casual Vacancy. I enjoyed Rowling’s departure from the world of wizards to a more real-life based story. The story wasn’t plot-driven, but a more nuanced character-driven read, showing the lives of ordinary people behind closed doors. Rowling does a great job of showing people, in all walks of life, putting on a brave face and ‘keep up appearances’, while at home they don’t always lead the life they like to make others think they do. 
Date published: 2014-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If everyone wrote like this, I'd be reading non-stop! This book is so well written that you feel like you're watching the movie on the pages. In fact, I had forgotten how well English can be written! I'm not a fiction reader but this writing just took me away. I wish the book could last longer...Can there be a Casual Vacancy 2?? As for the story line, it is a Corontion Street-type story - mundane every day life events. You either love it or find it dragging/boring.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful writing After picking this book up several times and putting it back down after reading a few pages, I finally committed myself to reading a certain number of pages before putting it back down again. By the time I reached the page number I had previously picked I was very engrossed in the story. The author did an amazing job of relating all the towns people together in random ways and showing how they knowingly and unknowingly affected each others lives. She did a great job showing the different sides to people, the different ways they present themselves to others and the different ways people experience others. This story could have been about any town in any place. I liked that she included "taboo" topics- addiction, bullying, teen issues, racism, swearing, etc. She touched on a lot of real issues that real people deal with on a daily basis. And she did it in a way that was descriptive of what those people actually think and feel. Reading through other reviews, I think some people did not like this aspect of her writing because its difficult to acknowledge the people really do act and feel the way her fictional characters do.
Date published: 2013-12-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Good When it was announced in 2012 that J.K. Rowling was set to release The Casual Vacancy, a book geared towards adults, people predictably rushed to pre-order it. I didn’t, knowing I could wait until the paperback was released and enjoy the book more objectively after the fog of hype dissipated. The book received mixed reviews, and I after finishing it myself, I can understand why. Rowling’s attempt at an adult novel is not as dynamic as her Harry Potter series. The main thing to remember when reading this book is that you are NOT buying Harry Potter for Adults. Quite simply, the characters are not as interesting, and the story line is not as intense or as suspenseful. That being said, I did enjoy this book nevertheless. Set in a fictional small town, in England, called Pagford the story starts with a city councilor named Barry Fairbrother dying from an aneurism. His seat now vacant, the town now must fill his spot. Fairbrother was instrumental in trying to keep The Fields, a rough area of Pagford, as a part of the town. He grew up in The Fields and made something of himself, and wanted to show the people there that they, too, could do what he had done. The stories that unfold and characters you meet are “ordinary”. You have neighbours fighting with neighbours, teachers fighting with students, parents fighting with their children, mixed with the drama of who will replace Fairbrother. Notably lacking in the story are sympathetic characters. Everyone is a bit self-centred, ignorant and/or mildly depressed. There are unhappy marriages and people with secrets they don’t want their friends and neighbours to know. It appears as though Rowling wanted to separate herself from the magical, mystical world of Harry Potter and wanted to show real life. The result, oddly, may have related too much to people’s actual lives rather than providing her readers with an escape which is what they loved about her teen series. But again, for some reason, I found myself pleased with The Casual Vacancy. I enjoyed Rowling’s departure from the world of wizards to a more real-life based story. The story wasn’t plot-driven, but a more nuanced character-driven read, showing the lives of ordinary people behind closed doors. Rowling does a great job of showing people, in all walks of life, putting on a brave face and ‘keep up appearances’, while at home they don’t always lead the life they like to make others think they do.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring I have not much to say on J.K. Rowling first novel for adult readership. Rarely do I give up on a novel “The Casual Vacancy” made the list. After labouring through 250 pages I simply couldn't waste more precious reading time on a very boring story concerning a parish council election in a small West Country town. This story is an unadventurous study of provincial life with some superficial excitements. A large cast of young characters taking drugs, swearing and having sex weaves through a multiple and interlocking plots that are flat-lined by predictability. I wasn't able from the start to immerse myself in the people I found them very frustrating and a real farce. I gave up….that is all I can say.
Date published: 2014-06-14
Rated out of 5 by from I have seen a lot of bad comments here....
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Starts slow, and not what I expected, but still good The Casual Vacancy is a story of unhappy people, both teenagers and adults, all brought together by the death of Barry Fairbrother, a member the of Pagford council. There are some who want Barry’s seat on the council, to crush what he was fighting for, which was to keep the methadone rehabilitation clinic open. There are teens that are abused by their parent, that cut themselves to relieve the pain, that don't take life seriously, that dislike their parent(s). There are adults who want Barry Fairbrother’s seat on the council, that are strongly affected by Barry’s death, that are unhappy in their marriage. If you think that The Casual Vacancy will in any way be like Harry Potter, then you will be disappointed. The story and the writing style is so different from what we are used to reading that I could not tell it was JK Rowling who wrote it. This is not a type of book that I would typically read, however I was not disappointed. There are many characters thus the story was hard to get into and follow at first but it started to become interesting after a hundred or so pages. Spoilers ahead: Andrew Price’s father is abusive, but Andrew cannot understand why his mother just won't leave his father. Sukhvinder Jawanda does poorly in school and is made fun of at school for being hairy thus she cuts herself to forget just for a little while. Krystal Weedon, whose mother is a heroin addict and prostitute, is trying to keep her family together; she fears that Robbie, her three-year-old brother, will be taken away from her. Stuart (Fats) Wall makes fun of his adoptive father and doesn't take life seriously. Gaia Bawden is unhappy because her mother moved them to Pagford to be closer to her boyfriend. Kay Bawden, the social-worker for the Weedons, wants her relationship with her boyfriend to go further now that she has moved to Pagford. Gavin Hughes, Kay’s boyfriend, doesn’t really like Kay, and is afraid to introduce Kay to his friends for fear that it will be difficult to break off his relationship with her later. Collin Wall, a teacher, is afraid of being accused of molesting his students. Samantha Millison has lost interest in her husband. Parminder Jawanda struggles with the death of Barry and is hard on her daughter, Sukhvinder. QUOTES Parminder after learning of Barry's death: "Everything had shattered. The fact that it was all still there—the walls and the chairs and the children's pictures on the walls—meant nothing. Every atom of it had been blasted apart and reconstituted in an instant, and its appearance of permanence and solidity was laughable; it would dissolve at a touch, for everything was suddenly tissue-thin and friable. She had no control over her thoughts; they had broker apart too, and random fragments of memory surfaced and spun out of sight again..." (39) Parminder: O mind, the world is a deep, dark pit. On every side, Death casts forward his net. (40) "Kay had read the file from cover to cover. She knew that nearly everything of value in Terri Weedon's life had been sucked into the black hole of her addiction; that it had cost her two children; that she barely clung to two more; that she prostituted herself to pay for heroin; that she had been involved in every sort of petty crime; and that she was currently attempting rehab for the umpteenth time. But not to feel, not to care...'Right now', Kay thought, 'she's happier than I am.'" (72) Fats: "His targeting of Krystal had been a deliberate act; and he had his cool and brazen retort ready, when it had come to facing down his mates' jeers and taunts. "If you want chips, you don't go to a f***ing salad bar."" (78) Kay after she and Miles have an arguement: "His inner certainties had been no more rearranged by Kay's arguments than a breeze can move a boulder; yet his feeling towards her was not unkind, but rather pitying." (227) "This, Andrew thought, was how Ruth spoke to Simon on the rare occasions when she felt obliged to challenge him: subservient, apologetic, tentative. Why did his mother not demand that the woman take down the post at once? Why was she always so craven, so apologetic? Why did she not leave his father?" (288) Andrew's thoughts about his mother, Ruth: "She was not frightened of showing temper to her sons. Was it because they did not hit her, or for some other reason?" (289) "Andrew returned to his bedroom hungry, because he had been heading for the kitchen to take out some food, and lay for a long while on his bed, wondering how badly Simon would have to injure anyone in the family before his mother realized that he recognized no moral code whatsoever." (290) Fats: "The victims of the Ghost of Barry Fairbrother were mired in hypocrisy and lies, and they didn't like exposure. They were stupid bugs running from bright light. They knew nothing about real life."(377) 3.5/5
Date published: 2014-07-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from An endurance test Two many characters without a main focus. The plot is muddied and has no definitive direction to hold interest. I'm more than half way through and finding it arduous.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Small town folks, big and dense book When I found out last summer that Rowling was publishing her first adult book, I must admit that I didn't exactly know what to think. Having had so much success with the “HP” series, why would she want to change audience, or genre? Feeling ambivalent, I decided to wait and see what other people would think of it. Bad idea ... Turns out the reviews were pretty mixed: either they loved it or hated it. This was only adding to my confusion and my dilemma: should I or should I not read it. I finally decided to give it a go. Even though I kept in mind that this was Rowling’s first adult novel and that she was entitled, just like any other first time author, to make mistakes, I must admit that I didn't particularly enjoy reading it. Moreover, I kept putting it down and finding myself excuses to do anything but read it. In this particular case, reading didn't feel like fun anymore, it felt more like work, which I already do plenty of. The one good thing I have to say about this book is that this is mainly the story of the people of Pagford. This is where the strength of the J.K. Rowling as we have come to know her in the “HP” series, is. Her characters, although numerous, all bring their contribution to the story and help it move forward as they evolve and follow their paths, whether for better or worse. They are all of them distinct in their own way. I particularly liked her teens, which as we know seems to be her forte. Although her adults are also well built, at the end of the day you feel naturally drawn to these teens and their lives, especially in my case to the central teen character, Krystal Wheedon who leaves a lasting impression event after you’re done reading the book. Now what I didn't really like is the fact that the story, although mainly about the characters, remains difficult to follow and the pacing might have a lot to do with it. The pacing here is that of our normal lives where some days are over packed with activities or action and others where nothing really important happens. It is okay in real life, but in a book, it makes the reading tedious and I got easily bored. Should the book have been shorter, it might have worked, but here the length creates a dragging effect and some scenes were definitely too long and even unnecessary. Moreover, Rowling tries to recreate here the likes of our society and its every detail, but to a smaller scale, making the book heavier and denser that it should be. She tries to treat every subject ending up, at times, by only scratching the surface. Though, I have to applaud her for using crude language and exposing at times, something raw and dark. She does not shy away from what we all know to be the truth. All in all, I believe the author might have tried to put too much in one book and that a more thorough editing process might have solved the problem by making the book shorter and lighter. Let’s all hope that this will be the case in her next book. For more on this book and others, visit my blog at : ladybugandotherbookworms.blogspot.com
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I loved this book! I never read Harry Potter so I didn't go into this book with any expectations and wanted to read it because it was so controversial. It will go down as one of the best I have ever read. I understand that people didn't like the cursing or some of the other conversation that existed in the book, but many of the things in this book are real life and exist everyday. i think people took offense to it but it is real. I loved all the characters and how they were so different from the next and I was so excited to read more to figure out what was going on with them. I think JK Rowling did an excellent job with this book and I look forward to anything else she plans on writing in the future.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from I should of read Sue's comment before but I had to finish this book hoping that it would get better and I was very very disappointed. I almost returned it if I could of. I was ordering a book on line for my daughter who needed it for school and decided I needed a new book to read and this popped up as new and reccommended etc. Really, really not my kind of read and by the looks of it not many others.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not the best I have read It is always a bad sign if I can put a book down for weeks on end and not really care if I ever get back to it... That is how my experience is with this book. I think there is a story in there somewhere but the pace is slow. It is sad because I was so looking forward to Rowling's non Harry Potter attempt. I hope to finish it some time but it is not going to happen for a while.. To me there is no emotional attachment to the story or the characters to get me back to reading it.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not my kind of book I love JK Rowling so I decided to give this book a try - I decided not to read the back cover, or reviews so I could go in with an open mind. I was disappointed - and maybe that's just because it's not my kind of book. I found the read tedious and depressing to be frank and I had a very difficult time getting through it. I found the ending.....a let down in a lot of ways and was left feeling dejected. I don't want to give anything away so I won't go into detail but I will say that I did not enjoy this book and I probably wouldn't recommend it. To be fair - this may have more to do with my personal preference of novel rather than the actual quality of the story but either way it's a thumbs down from me.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! I loved this. So different from what I expected, but a great read. Well developed, amazing character development. A solid entry into the adult genre Rowling!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from I have always been the type of reader that will always finish a book. I have since decided that life is too short and there are better books out there waiting to be read. I had to give up on this one. It was one of the worst books I have read in many years. I made it just over half way and finally had to throw in the towel. Very disappointing - very painful!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great characters, mediocre pacing I finally worked up the courage to tackle The Casual Vacancy. I am a fanatic Harry Potter fan and was understandably nervous to read Rowling’s first non-Harry Potter novel. And then the reviews came out and they were well…let’s just say mixed. But I kept my expectations in check and jumped right in and I am happy to report that I genuinely enjoyed this book. I wanted to know what would happen next and how the events that transpired would all play out. The plot of The Casual Vacancy is a seemingly small story. A man dies, leaving his position open on the parish council – also known as a casual vacancy. But J K Rowling, being the expert story teller that she is, weaves it all together in a huge story, with deceit, lies, intrigue and disaster. She peels back the surface story and exposes something raw and dark. And true to form, Rowling really knows how to turn a phrase and I found myself flagging a ton of clever passages that I wanted to return to later on. Story aside I found the best thing about this book was the characters. There are A LOT of them! But they were all integral to the plot and they helped keep the story moving. I loved how distinct everyone’s personalities were. Maybe it’s a small town thing but I know people exactly like everyone in The Casual Vacancy. I think this is a testament to just how well Rowling develops her characters. Especially the children. That’s not to say her adult characters were poorly written – anything but. But at the end of the day it was the children I was the most drawn to and that will stay with me the longest. On the subject of characters I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Wheedons specifically. I thought that she gave them really fair treatment. It would have been easy for her to fall back on some old stereotypes but they truly felt like three-dimensional people. This goes with for everyone in the book but especially this family. Through the Wheedons and the people connected to them Rowling makes some excellent points about social services and the people who depend of them, and proves just how wrong it is to make assumptions about people and abandon them when they need our help the most. The Casual Vacancy is not without its problems however. Most notably – it’s long. Way too long. I don’t mind books that are over 500 pages. Not in the slightest. But if they are going to be that length they should be making use of every page. Frankly, I don’t think that was the case with The Casual Vacancy. Some scenes felt overly long and dragged out and I’m not convinced all of them were completely necessary. I think this book would have benefited greatly from a more thorough editing process and I think had it been any other author it probably would have received it. I think this happens to a lot of best selling authors and it really does them, the publishing house and the readers a disservice. But even still, I was definitely caught up in the story and wanted to keep reading to see what happened next. Recommendation: A intense and well plotted read. But don’t read this book just because it’s written by J K Rowling. If this doesn’t sound like something you would like, well you probably won’t like it. But if you like literary fiction I definitely think there’s some interesting things being said in The Casual Vacancy. It’s all in your approach. This and other reviews at More Than Just Magic (http://morethanjustmagic.org)
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Average read. This book was a relatively easy read except for the fact that you need to keep track of many characters however once you have that down its no problem. The underlying message is meaningful and it does make you think in the end but there was something missing in the writing style for me. There was no mystery just story telling. A little lack lustre but overall not a terrible shot at her first adult novel in terms of context.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I had heard mixed reviews of JK's new book, but was very interested to see how it would compare to Harry Potter. It was extremely different from her previous books, but I felt equally as good!! The character depth was amazing and by the end of the novel you truly felt connected to the characters. Definitely was a book I was sad to see end!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from compelling characters I’m not sure I would have ever read J.K. Rowling’s adult novel The Casual Vacancy if it hadn’t been chosen by a member of my book club. For starters, the book didn’t sound all that appealing to me – Barry Fairbrother dies and leaves a vacant seat on the parish council. Small town politics? Ugh. I wouldn’t have been motivated to read it because I’m a fan of her other books either. You know, the ones about the wizard and his friends and he who shall not be named. Yeah. I’ve only read the first one. Loved the movies, though. So, I started this novel not really expecting very much of anything. I mean, c’mon, it’s 503 pages long. It’s about a small British town. There are a zillion characters. And I loved it. Okay, maybe love is too strong a word. (My kids say I never love any book, but that’s not true.) I really liked The Casual Vacancy. A lot. First of all, I lived in England for a couple years and so Pagford, the fictional setting of this novel, seemed familiar to me. I knew the shops and the narrow streets, the school and the council flats. I could hear the characters (I kept imagining Coronation Street although I know that’s probably the wrong accent.) Once I got settled, the characters and their stories (all of which intersect due to their relationship with Mr. Fairbrother) felt very much like I was watching a British soap opera marathon. Every character was brought brilliantly to life. Fathers and mothers, teenage children, doctors, addicts, rich and poor – no one is left out. I really think that writing character is Ms. Rowling’s true gift as a writer. Characters drive story and that is certainly the case in this book. Nothing much happens. And everything happens and all of it because Barry Fairbrother dies. Some of The Casual Vacancy is laugh-out-loud funny. For example, middle-aged Samantha’s growing preoccupation with the hunky lead singer of a British boy band. (I may know a thing or two about this, as I find myself staring at pictures of Zayn Malik from One Direction just a teensy bit longer than is necessary.) Some of the characters are so heart-breaking you just want to hug them: Krystal and her little brother, Robbie. Some characters are reprehensible, yes, Simon, I’m looking at you! All of them are so…human…though. Flawed and brave and cowardly and pretentious and blind and you’ll see yourself or someone you know in every single one of them. This isn’t a book where something happens. The plot is pretty much incidental to the novel. Spending time with these people is time well spent, though. I do have one niggle with the book. Rowling took such care building up these people in this place and time, I did find the ending a little rushed. I would have been happier, perhaps, with a little less in the middle in exchange for a little more at the end. I didn’t feel cheated, exactly, I guess I just wanted more. I don’t need to know the fate of everyone, but some pretty dramatic things happen near the end and I just felt pushed along. I’d recommend this book, though. If you weren’t a fan before, The Casual Vacancy could very well win you over. I am definitely going to read those Harry Potter books.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Mixed Feelings If I were to write this review based of part one of this book (the first 175 pages), it would be completely negative. I found this huge portion of the book to be unnecessary. Everything in this part could have been written in 50 pages. It was so tedious to read that I almost quit several times. But, because of my love for J.K. Rowling, I forced myself to continue. To make things more interesting, I decided not to read the synopsis of The Casual Vacancy before I purchased it. I trusted Rowling’s ability for story-telling, and decided I’d like to be surprised. What a surprise it was! I could not possibly think of something I wanted to read less than a novel about small town politics. I also had trouble keeping track of the characters (a town’s worth of them) because of how disinterested I was in their lives. However, once part two began I found myself enjoying The Casual Vacancy. The characters were more likable, and relatable. And I soon discovered that the plot wasn’t about filling the seat on Pagford’s council; it was about the citizens themselves, and how all hell broke loose on their lives. I had no issue with the more depressing aspects of the book. I’m actually glad that J.K. Rowling so often peppers her stories with tragedy; it makes her writing more realistic. If you want the book to end with everyone skipping and singing into the sunset, this is not the read for you. I only awarded Casual Vacancy two stars because while I enjoyed this book for the most part, I had to cross a 175 page obstacle to get there.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pleasant reading I didn't find the subject terribly captivating - the story is pretty straightforward, no big surprises. Tragic but it was to be expected, at least to some degree. The storytelling style is similar to the HP series, so it makes the book enjoyable. My impression was that the teen characters were built in more detail than the adults, who were schematic and grotesque in many cases. Overall, it was a good read and at times I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Really bad!!!!!!!! The book lacks fluidity and plot line. The writing is poor and repeatative. The author does not resemble her master piece works of H.P. What happened?! J.K. Rowling, this is a real dissapointment!!!!!!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read. At first, this book seems a bit awkward and it did take me a chapter or two to start liking it. But once I read more, I couldn't stop reading. The story line is not entirely mundane, but it's not entirely intriguing as well. I don't think I really like the sex this much as I did in Fifty Shades of Grey, but nonetheless, this book is a really great read. I read it a lot to escape from stress in my life, and I'm kind of sad that I finished it so fast. Definitely recommended for a more mature audience, as the description denotes, but it's also a fun read for those who are younger. The only thing I didn't like about the book was how big it was and it was a pain to read before bed because of how heavy it was. Other than that, nothing was bad.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Surprisingly Clever! The Casual Vacancy‘s catch phrase sums up the entire novel: “A big tale about a small town”. In this novel we are given one event in the prologue: the death of Barry Fairbrother, and the rest of the book focuses on the effect that this death has on the small community. This novel is extremely effective in how the story builds. Rowling spends the first third of the novel slowly building up the relationships between characters and explaining who the main “players” in the town are. To understand the main conflict in the novel, one needs to understand Barry Fairbrother. Barry came from a low-income environment and managed to build himself up into a Pillar of the Community. Barry took it upon himself to defend the people in the Fields: a low income neighbourhood. The town Pagford wishes to give up their control of the Fields to Yarvil, the larger town that is slowly creeping towards them. The Low Income Neighbourhood is and eye sore that brings down the value and class of the picture perfect Pagford. So while Barry was fighting for keeping the Fields as a part of Pagford. Howard Mollison is trying his best to divorce the Fields. With Barry out of the picture, Howard tries to find someone to fill the seat and swing the council vote in his favour. There are no real villains in this story, instead Rowling gives us a slice out of the lives of these characters. You come to understand why characters react and interact the way they do. You know who has formed alliances and why. But where no one can really be considered a villain, no one can be considered a hero. Everyone except Barry, who is seen by those who were Pro-Fields as the perfect man: loving father, pillar of the community and best friend ever. Rowling explores many issues through this book: the destruction of secrets, dissolving marriages, the fear of growing old, the fear of the young, the fear of personal weakness, fidelity, friendship and love are just a few. It’s impossible to go into too many details without spoiling the rest of the story, since the novel is dependent on its slow reveals. I wouldn’t recommend this novel to everyone who loved the Harry Potter series since the book does not deal with the same kind of content and it’s definitely for mature readers. What I can say though is that if you liked J.K. Rowling’s writing style and how she unfolds a story then give this book a read. The Casual Vacancy has a bad reputation since everyone holds the the novel up to the Harry Potter series, these two stories are completely different making them impossible to compare. So give it a read! I’ll warn you, it might break your heart.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from awesome read! I picked up one harry potter book a long time ago & could not get through it. Casual Vacancy was a completely difference read/story. I throughly enjoyed it, I loved the interplay of characters, as well as the relatability to the characters. I've seen alot of negative reviews, but not sure why, I recommend this book, I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from I think this is the most depressing book I have read in years. The book has deeply developed characters, it is truly well written that way; however, there is not one happy individual or story line in the book. This is not a happy vacation which was what I was looking for. Please bring back Harry!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Taking Responsibility And The Casual Vacancy Not to spoil the experience for the uninitiated, but The Casual Vacancy begins and ends with death. Both are tragic and troubling and cause much turmoil to spiral out of them. But as J.K. so deftly does, she shows us not all deaths are created equal. After gaining massive and well-earned popularity from the wonderful Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling has entered headfirst into the world of adult (and yes this is very very adult) fiction with The Casual Vacancy. At the start, small town councilor Barry Fairbrother drops dead in an extremely traumatic fashion. The next day, various factions for various reasons, all vie for his now empty council seat. The stakes are raised since the contentious issue of what to do with the local crime ridden, poverty filled, and colossal financially draining projects is an ongoing concern. With this backstory, J.K. injects a rather large cast of characters, who are all sorts of different ages, occupations, genders, and attitudes into the story. None are entirely likeable, even the ones we are supposed to root for, and the villainous ones are quite nasty and vitriolic. One person is so physically abusive to his family, it becomes very harrowing to get through those passages. Another is a manipulative psychopath. The most public villain is an immensely obese man who treats the council like his own private kingdom, all must hail his greatness or face subtle machinations. What passes for heroes in The Casual Vacancy are flawed and petty and slightly disconcerting with their obvious disconnect from their loved ones and reality. The mother of the psychopath makes denial her constant mantra, all while trying to prop her husband out of his mental issues. The teen son of the abusive father plucks out a “plan” to stop and hurt his dad, but what that will actually do, he has no clue. This brings us to the central character of The Casual Vacancy, who along with the ghost of Barry Fairbrother, drives the narrative. A good chunk of the story features Krystal Weedon, a teen girl from the projects who desperately wants to save her existence. Everyday is an endless parade of poverty, promiscuity, and powerlessness for her. Ideas and concepts of how she can save her family are always upmost on her mind, but each and every one of them is virtually unworkable. That aspect does not register to her, only that she needs hope, and none is forthcoming, so she has to manufacture something, anything, out of thin air. Krystal is the mouthpiece for J.K., her podium about the spectacular failure of the state to help the downtrodden. She is far from perfect, but all this 15 year old wants is safety and security, not chaos and cruelty. And really, shouldn’t every child this age be most worried about getting a boy to like them or what to do on a Saturday night, not with keeping your mother off heroin or cleaning a foul house. These issues of responsibilities inhabit every nook and cranny of The Casual Vacancy. Krystal should not be held to account for everything that she has to, but because of a callous, clueless and cavalier society, she is expected to do all this and more. And despite all these pressures and concerns, virtually the entire town views her as a filthy pariah. J.K. has stated the original title of the book was going to be Responsibility. All along the way, as characters collide and interact, we see the effects of not taking personal responsibility and societal responsibility. Small and big decisions have ripples which touch people who never even know where these tides are coming from. Reactions occur based on incomplete and inaccurate information. And the ones who do have some semblance of power, which grants them even more responsibilities, chronically fail to provide any respite for the truly unfortunate. Howard, the obese and bellicose council leader, rules with an arrogant manner which can be directly linked to Krystal’s fate. His uncaring is evil and unnatural, but supported by so many who blindly follow his hypocrisy. Barry’s passing in the beginning begets more passing’s at the end. While no obvious way could be found to save the seemingly saintly Mr. Fairbrother, the other deaths could have, and should have, been prevented. Only one character in the end comes to this partial truth, takes responsibility for their failings in the matter, and strives to do better. One out of so many who could have been saviour’s, but instead choose the path of least resistance and continued on with their petty little hate-filled lives. Will Pagford be a better, more enlightened, place after all the tragedies that transpire? Some hope is shown to glimmer forth from the remnants of the battlefield this town exists in. Some are willing to help their fellow souls help themselves, and make our shared existence better. To take responsibility. But only some. Others avert their eyes. And that, as J.K.’s final line says, is the real tragedy.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing I was really excited to get started on this book, but as I got past 50 pages I knew this was not my cup of tea. Overall it was very dark, sad, and depressing read. The author concentrated on all negative aspects and misery of human condition and the positive light was almost nonexistent. The whole book was stuck in the adolescent phase and it lacked a bit of maturity for “an adult book”, it was a bit vulgar at times. It left me with no inspiration, almost depressed and empty. The only thing I liked was the fact that it had so many characters and they all interacted with each other either directly or indirectly. I was actually relieved I have finished it and I don’t think I’ll read another J.K. Rowling’s books.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Confusing/hard to get into I had high hopes for this book, as I'm sure everyone else has. Like other reviewers have mentioned, the book was REALLY confusing. I haven't even finished the book yet because I'm just not into it anymore. I'm hoping by the end it will pick up and start to make some sense, but I would definitely not recommened this one!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Confusing.. This book is confusing, JK Rowling is an awesome writer don't get me wrong, but this book, I just couldn't do it. She tries to develop too many characters at once, which makes you all confused. The storyline is confusing, I can't even follow the story, I just can't get through it it's a drag for me to read it, every time I look at the book I just don't want to pick it up again. Everyone has a different opinion on the book, I will not tell you not to read it but this book just wasn't for me.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely great! To be honest I never have read a full book of J.K. Rowling. I know, I know... I should have read all the Harry Potter books. But I guess that just makes this review much more interesting. The Casual Vacancy was absolutely so amazing. Every page, every section. She is a phenomenal author and damn, you just have got to read it. The book is really an interesting take on a small town. All the characters were well written and I won't say much else but YOU MUST READ IT. 5/5 stars is what I say.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from NICE ENTRY INTO ADULT FICTION When Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly a seat on the town council of Pagford is left vacant. Quickly the town realizes that his death left more than that vacany, it left a void in the fabric that holds the town together. As various residents vie for his council seat, personal lives in Pagford are exposed (thanks to a prank allowing “the ghost of Barry Fairbrother” to reveal town secrets) and those same lives begin to unravel in sometimes humorous and more often devastating ways. Ms. Rowling’s first entry into “grown up” reading was a pleasant surprise. When I first started this book I was not sure I was going to enjoy it (I even rolled my eyes at the name of the lead character … Barry … Harry??) but I soon found myself drawn into life in Pagford. If you have ever enjoyed an a stroll around the neighbourhood on a pleasant night … you know the time in the evening, when the lights are on in people’s homes but the curtains have not yet been drawn …and you glance in the windows and imagine lives for the people who live there. That’s what reading this book was like for me. I got the stories behind the glass.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from HUGELY DISAPPOINTING What a letdown. Didn't know what to expect and so was eagerly awaiting opening that first page. Made it to chapter 4 before saying, "No more of that, thank-you very much!" As so many have said, not one character to relate to or even like and I can't believe *anyone* on earth liked this book or even had the stomach to finish it. I don't even care about the language, which is probably realistic, the book is just BAD. I NEVER just say ENOUGH and put the book down, but this is a notable exception and I cannot advise people strongly enough NOT to buy this garbage, but to spend your money elsewhere! And if you were planning on giving this for Christmas, for God's sake - DON'T!!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from I think this is an excellent book. JK Rowling has a true ear for the way people speak, especially kids in modern UK to whom proscribed 4-letter words fall trippingly off the tongue. It's a first class political novel, with one decent character, Krystal Weedon, and a whole battalion of dreadful people, especially the meretricious adults. From my recent experience of living in and frequently visiting modern UK, it rings all too true, I'm sad to say. It would have benefited by editing to reduce the length by about a quarter, and reducing the host of characters. That's why I'd rate it 4 stars rather than five. John Last
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Well written, but it just made me sad 3.5/5 Well, I really don't think there's anyone who is not familiar with the name J. K. Rowling. The Harry Potter books will forever be part of our culture. So, with that series ended, Rowling's announcement that she was writing an adult novel was greeted with much (much!) anticipation. And with it's publication - much scrutiny. As a fan of the Potter books, I had to read The Casual Vacancy. "6.11 A casual vacancy is deemed to have occurred : (a) when a local councillor fails to make his declaration of acceptance of office within the proper time; or (b) when his notice of resignation is received'; or (c) on the day of his death..." And in the parish of Pagford, England, it's option (c) when councillor Barry Fairbrother unexpectedly dies. The local council is warring amongst themselves. The issue? Who should be responsible for the local estate - referred to as The Fields. Should it be Pagford or neighbouring city of Yarvil. This vacancy offers up the chance to turn the tide for one side or the other...the race is on to fill the seat.... 'Both, as they watched....were contemplating the casual vacancy: and they saw it not as an empty space but as a magician's pocket, full of possibilities." Rowling rapidly introduces us to a plethora of characters. Each is well-drawn and provided me with vivid mental images. Inthe beginning I did have to make myself a reference list of characters and their relationships until I had a firm grasp of who was who. The Casual Vacancy is driven by it's characters. Most of them are not nice people. But it's an interesting social commentary. The 'better-offs' in Pagford are quite sure they are above those 'lower classes' living in The Fields. But our behind the scenes view allows us to see that they are no different from each other. The Pagfordians are just more polite about it. The Casual Vacancy is not a small book - it's five hundred pages long. Although I'm a voracious reader, it took me almost two weeks to finish. Why? Well, packed into that five hundred pages is a lot of pettiness, bullying, selfishness, cruelty, vindictiveness, conniving, scheming...you get the picture. And it made me sad, just really sad. I really didn't get much enjoyment from reading this book. But I soldiered on, determined to see what happened at the end. Which I didn't like. The one character I enjoyed met a depressing fate. Rowling's writing is impeccable, the town and the machinations of it's inhabitants are all part of a tightly woven plot and her characterizations are spot on. So it's going to be a very hard book to rate for me. The writing is a four, but my enjoyment was only a three, so I'll go with 3.5/5. The Casual Vacancy is definitely an adult novel, with lots of profanity, drug use, self harm, sexual situations and more.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Eight Bookcases Check out my review of Rowling's work on my blog at: http://8bookcases.blogspot.ca/2012/10/the-casual-vacancy-by-jk-rowling.html
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from I have to agree with the other posts about this book. I have been "forcing" myself to read a chapter at a time. I find it quite depressing, with characters that have little or no redeeming qualities at times. I also don't understand many of the social aspects, due to the setting in Great Britain. I miss Harry!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Huge disappointment I am an avid reader and have read over 5,000 books in my life, from varius fields, mainly foreign literature. I am very sorry to say that I agree with the most negative critic reviews and readers' reviews. $19 dollars is way too much for J.K. Rowling's book that is a total failure; not only that the plot drags for almost 2 thirds of the book, but there is no message of hope, not even one character that would be close to being likeable, the foul language is suffocating the writing and the sordid reality of the book exceeds even the sordid reality around us. I donated this book to my community library to spare people their money. Hopefully, as the writer herself admitted, she will go back to write books for children, as her talent is undisputably huge.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from I don't know what all the "pundits" who panned this book were expecting! Rowling writes well, it is an easy read. The characters are rather sad, small minded, and full of angst, not usually the sort of thing I read. I hope she continues to write and that her next offering will be more upbeat. I will continue to buy her books.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from I struggled through the first 40 or 50 pages and then put it down. It's not only boring but I don't like any of the characters and don't care what happens to them or what they do. Not a great start. I would never have bought this book without all the hype about it being by J.K. Rowling. I think she should stick to Young Adult fantasy. I loved the Harry Potter series. This one ... no.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from I am having trouble getting into this book. Too many charters it is hard to keep them straight. This story is set in a United Kingdom setting and could be unfamiliar to North Americans. So words and situations are unfamiliar to us. North American towns are not politically.set up like it is in the UK. I am going to stick with it as I do like some of it, Canadians may understand it better than other North Americans due to the wording. I would not recommend this book for those who are looking to the same type of greatness as the harry potter books
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Well-written but gritty subject This is a well-written novel (as you'd expect from this author) about a number of unpleasant people and dis-functional relationships. It's set in a small town, I'm guessing somewhere in the Midlands, with all the attendant social problems.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from This book is a good discection of society in that it looks at the division between classes that still exists today. Corruption at municipal levels of government, personal greed, a look at teen life that is more real than any at Hogwarts, and adults who still struggle with who they are and what they want. It's overlong and too much detail given to some minor characters, but there are still some emotional punches that make you think. I think it's very hard for people to digest this is the same author that made us cheer for a wizard underdog, it's just such a contrast to her previous work.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from As good as the best British TV series REALLY Enjoyed the story and characters. Reviews elsewhere give weight to f-word and, some think, socialist views--gawd no. The story illuminates society but those comments are off-base--unless you have a problem with witnessing characters struggle with concept of love thy neighbour? As for the f-word, consider context!--husband's family's from Aus via Liverpool and the effin'-and-blindin' in the book's dialogue is authentic, cultural lingo. Well written and edited, scenes jump off the page in vivid British television-style of the best kind. You feel like you've been somewhere and had a stimulating chat about things that matter. If you like character fiction with a story-line that comes in satisfying short-story chunks, you will enjoy the Casual Vacancy.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A disappointment I was let down by this book. I felt that the slow beginning (and middle) combined with the foul language made the book difficult to finish. Rowling seemed to focus more on proving that this book was for grown-ups than creating a relationship between characters for the reader and connecting the stories in an interesting way. I wouldn't really recommend this book unless you're looking for confusion at arms length. The last two chapters were what brought this from one leaf to two.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A big disappointment... I had so looked forward to reading this book, but very quickly my hopes were dashed. Over halfway through I was still trying to sort out the characters. The plot was good, but moved far too slowly. The final 75 pages were better as I had finally figured out who everyone was and it all came together. A number of times, I nearly abandoned the book, but thought it must get better. Overall it was very disappointing. I hope she tries again, because clearly Rowling is an amazing talent. This one misses the mark.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A lot of realistic issues crammed into a volatile political landscape I know why you've either read, or are going to read this book. It's because you're curious. Curious as to what has Rowling come up with for adults post Potter, and if it can live up to the legend of Potter or not. I went into this with my mind still set in the idyllic childish world of Harry Potter (you really shouldn't, clear your mind and just read this book as it is) and I can tell you the exact moment that Rowling effectively shattered any childhood fantasies that I had left (it was when she dropped about 7 f-bombs in the span of two consecutive pages really early on). The premise is that Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly, and he leaves his seat open on the Parish Council of Pagford that needs to be filled (a casual vacancy if you will). But in this little town there's a bigger and more volatile problem that has divided the council long before Barry's death. The Fields - basically Pagford's version of a slum, where there's dilapidated low income housing filled with druggies, prostitutes and other unsavory characters. Soon it becomes a heated race between sides to fill the seat to either evict or save Fields. Unfortunately, The Casual Vacancy is painfully slow. There's so many characters (I don't think I'll cover them all because it'd swallow up this whole post) that it takes forever to set each one up in their dull lives and the role they have in the community. Rowling takes an approach where she takes several story lines and weaves them so that will catastrophically crash together. She adds a 'shock' factor to each character to try and make them memorable, but I still had issues telling them apart or remembering them or really connecting with them - I felt like I was an observer to the story instead of really being drawn into it. It took me much longer to get through this book because I got bored and had to put it book down for a time before I'd find the will to keep reading again - but by then I'd forgotten who was who. So your best bet is to probably take notes, or read it in continuously. Since Rowling started out writing for kids, there's a certain level of innocence that she had to maintain in the Potter books. But here - WOW does she ever let loose. Her characters hit everything from extremely conservative god fearing racist homophobic upper middle class folk, to stringent foreign parents, drug abusing prostitutes, rapists, child molestation, domestic violence, incest, bullying, self harm, affairs and teenagers experimenting with everything from drugs (I wasn't all that surprised with Rowling's extensive knowledge of marijuana, heh.), voyeur sex, masturbation and pornography. She even manages to sneak in some health problems like obesity, diabetes and stroke. However, things get really dark at some points, I had to sit back and actually remind myself that this was the same woman that wrote Harry Potter - I think if I ever go back and read those again it'll definitely be in a different light. I have to admit I got really uncomfortable at certain parts, like when characters were calling others racial slurs, or being incredibly homophobic, or being exceptionally cruel to someone. Rowling does an excellent job getting you to think about all these things, and that they are a reality - but in the end it seems that nothing fully got resolved. There wasn't much retribution to be had against these high and mighty characters, and the lowly just seemed to sink a bit lower. Maybe that's what she wants you to think about - how crappy life can be and how it goes on, but it's not what I wanted in my fictional reads. I wanted some good feelings at the end, and I definitely didn't feel very satisfied - there were too many "but what happens to these people after??" kind of moments. There's a lot of British slang and jokes that took some re-reads before I actually got it. So that did slow down my enjoyment and speed at which I read. To show the class division, Rowling even uses a cockney accent - which was amusing at first, but I quickly grew tired of trying to decipher it (I'm TERRIBLE with accents, even written ones apparently). I can't say that the plot was completely predictable, I didn't really try to. I spent most of my time just watching and observing the intense secrets and drama unfold - which was really quite good. Ironically, all the adults seemed to be shallow and condescending, and once again it's her teenage characters that stole the show with creativity, pain, angst and the dire situations that their parents have put them in. Rowling may have packed too much drama into this by addressing so many intense issues altogether, but the way it ended may just end up fueling the destructive fires in other communities that are facing these same problems. There are some redeeming qualities, but I just overall didn't enjoy it that much. If you really need to satisfy your curiosity about this one, definitely borrow it.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from slow starter big finish For the first third of this book it just wasn't grabbing me but as time went on I really got into it. She really depicted the less fortunate and the drug addicted to a tee. Combining small town life and politics with those that are uneducated and destined for a life of hell Ms. Rowling has done a wonderful job. This book was nothing that I expected from her and it kept me reading. Someone wrote about the vulgarity or swearing and the shock value obtained from it and how they disapproved but they missed the point as drug addicts, those less educated living the very rough life style of no food, clothes that fit or warm beds don't have the refinements most enjoy and are depicted perfectly even if you found it shocking. I look forward to her next adult novel. A weak four star well worth the money, cheers!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Rowling at her finest! Ms. Rowling has a history of creating diverse and interesting characters in the incredibly creative and unique world of Harry Potter and she does not disappoint with her first adult fiction offering. The characters almost come from different worlds and we learn about the importance of integrating these worlds in everyday life. The book takes on stereotypes that we are all familiar with and puts a human face on each one in a poignant and insightful way. I sincerely hope there are more books of this genre to come from J.K. Rowling.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from Abysmal. The only good line was on page 58 of 503. Save your money for better books than this.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from CASUAL VACANCY This book is a great disappointment to me. I expected better quality material from this author. I do not believe it is necessary to use foul language when writing an "Adult" book. I would not recommend this book to anyone. If the author's intention was to shock her followers by going from a brilliant series of well written books to this trashy one, she certainly succeeded with me. If you want to read excellent adult literature, I highly recommend "The Broadmoor Legacy" trilogy of books written by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller - exceptional books with memorable characters.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Brave and Relevant In "The Casual Vacancy," Rowling is exposing much of the worst in modern society, so it is a challenging read. I admire her for writing it. Rowling indirectly asks us to consider how we can make our towns better places for all of us to live in. At the same time, she ruthlessly exposes the petty motivations of some people who stand in the way. Readers looking for a character to empathize with might consider that the towns of Yarvil and Pagford are rich characters in themselves.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Casual Vacancy Bought it due to all the hype....wish I had saved my money. Could not get into it, and totally lost interest. I would even give it less then a one if this system rated that low.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good! I wasn't to sure at first. I didn't want to stereotype the author. But the more I was reading, the more I was getting into the story. There are some rough parts that make you say "Oh My!". Very touching. Good read!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous! I loved this book! Definately a page turner-didn't want it to end! Her writing style did not disappoint, loved the different characters in the book and how they related to one another! Definately a read-hope she comes out with more!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Really disappointed As my title suggests, I am so disappointed in the first adult novel from J.K. Rowling. I was looking forward to a real "page turner". It didn't capture my attention, and really felt like these topics have been written about so many times before. I felt like I had to slog through it, and couldn't believe that I felt this way about a J.K Rowling book. Wouldn't buy an adult book from her again.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very surprised how much I liked The Casual Vacancy I was very much surprised how much I liked The Casual Vacancy. To say that it wasn't what I was expecting is dead on. I though it was going to be some sort of cozy romance. Far from it. More like Coronation Street on steroids...or smack. Sort of a cross between Melvin Burgess' Junk and Peter Hedges' What's Eating Gilbert Grape, except it all takes place in a twee West Country village.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant While this book does take awhile to get into, it's so worth it. Once you figure out who everyone is, you really start to care about them. The ending is intense and insane, and it's seriously something only JK Rowling could pull off. It is odd seeing her write something that's not Harry Potter, and that did take me awhile to get through, however it's not Harry Potter, it's nothing like Harry Potter, and therefore you cannot compare it to Harry Potter. It would be like comparing apples and oranges and being disappointed in one because they're both fruit. If you're looking for a good book that's just that: a good book, then get this book. If you're looking for Harry Potter, buy Harry Potter.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Exceptionally depressing. Save your money. I'm glad I borrowed the book from the library and didn't waste money to purchase! This is one of those books where you keep saying to yourself "it's got to get better..." but doesn't. Probably the most depressing book I've ever read. The book clearly shows the result of man's inability to self-reflect while moving through life 'unconsciously,' and the effect it has on others.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not for Harry Potter Fans I started to read this book because I was curious to see what type of book J.K. Rowling would write following her successful Harry Potter series - a daunting task. For readers who like plot-driven books, this is not for you. This book is for readers enjoying books focusing on characters and setting. The first 100 pages are hard to get through as there are so many characters to keep track of. The teenage characters are the most interesting and well-developed. Issues such as class warfare, drug addiction, racism and suicide are important to the story line. By the time I reached page 400, I couldn't put the book down.
Date published: 2014-08-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from On the fence. I thought a couple of things about this book. First thing I have to say about the book is that it definitely isn't a story you'd read to your kids at bedtime. It's no Harry Potter, that's for sure. Second, it was difficult to follow most of the time. I'm Canadian, and with some of the slang and the accents written in, I found it hard to figure out exactly what was being said or done. Third, the language and descriptions were absolutely vulgar. I'm no stranger to cursing, but the amount of times the F word was said was ridiculous. Also, some chapters definitely could have done with l ess description. The point would still have gotten across without as much detail as was thrown in there. Fourth, I've never read a more depressing story in my entire life. The characters were incredibly believable and kept on track through the whole book. There wasn't a time where I'd thought 'Now, why has s/he gone and done that?' Fifth, and last, the story was hard to follow with so many different families being involved. It felt like I was watching a soap opera, and it was so easy to lost track of which family did what, or who said what to who. Nicknames didn't make remembering any easier. All in all, I was reminded of being in school and being forced to read a novel that taught a lesson. It sort of reminded me of 'Lord of the Flies', with the lesson that actions have consequences. I also very much respect Ms. Rowling and consider it a skill to cause such emotion in an audience that isn't fond of the story. I felt disgust, sorrow, and repulsion toward many parts of the book. I hope that Rowling comes out with more novels, hopefully with lighter lessons and a more cherry atmosphere.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Barry isn't Harry I wasn't expecting this to be anything like Harry Potter and it wasn't. It is definitely a book for adults. Full of real issues. Poverty, drugs, teenage problems, adults problems. It's not something I would have picked up if JK Rowling hadn't written it. But I did, and surprisingly, I enjoyed it. Reading it for the second time now!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An Average Book As someone who is a fan of the Harry Potter series, I couldn't wait to see what Ms Rowling could come up with and couldn't wait to get my hands on this book once it was set to be released. Even though this is not a book I would generally bother purchasing, I did so in the hope that it would capture my interest and draw me into its universe much like the Harry Potter series did. Unfortunately, it did not as much I had been expecting. The first part of this book was bland and a bit of a struggle to get through as it felt boring and overly wordy. I would compare the first part of this book to be similar to reading the last book in the Twilight series. I, however, find that once on to part two of seven, the book starting progressing on average at best for my tastes. I did find that I was being sucked into the book's world it's just not one that I would consider rereading for pleasure because there are so many characters that it can become difficult to keep track of the individual stories within the book. It almost feels like you need a flow chart or something to keep track of all the characters and how they connect to Barry. Had this not been a book by J.K. Rowling, I would've passed over it and waited for there to be a movie with someone I liked as one of the main characters or the marketing for the film was really, really good.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from From what I've read from this book so far, it's okay but had this not been a book by JK Rowling, I would've skipped it unless it was made into a movie and either the marketing pulled me in or an actor or actress I liked was cast as one of the main characters.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not worth buying JK spends so much of this book character building of over 20 characters, that there is no plot until the last 100 pages of the book. It is a terrible read that I kept pushing myself through telling myself "it has to get better sometime, this is JK Rowling!" ... but it didn't. It kept putting me to sleep. I am a avid reader, and I don't generally post reviews, but in this case, I could not help myself. This book is definitely not worth the paper it's printed on. Boo JK!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A dark, literary version of Love, Actually The two things I admire most in JKR's writing are well-developed characters and a detailed intertwining plot. The Casual Vacancy is exactly that. Although at times it was difficult to follow all the different plot lines, it was wonderful to see the interdependance of the characters and the direct consequences their actions had on people whom they often never came in contact with. The constant bracketing of side stories was actually quite bothersome and distracting, and some of the characters' dialogue felt artificial (esp. the working-class jargon), although perhaps that can be attributed to cultural differneces between England and Canada. For that reason I would not give the book 5 stars. Overall though, this book is a rare find : it tackles stereotypes, prejudices and life's challenges by adressing underlying causes. The parody of the middle class and some of its values and assuptions (mostly "old Pagford") is perhaps one of the novel's strongest suits. My personal favourite plot lines were those of the Prices and Weedons because I feel such issues are hard to come by in novels and it was interesting to see how Rowling tackled it. I was a little dissapointed that the Prince storyline was not further developed - although one of the things the book attempts to say is that nothing has an easy solution, and any sort of finality is a long diffucult process. Many of the themes suggested in Harry Potter are examined more closely in this raw depiction of the darker shades of hummanity.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very disappointed I was extremely disappointed by this book. I certainly didn't expect another HP book, but I did expect the quality of the writing to be the same. Almost like someone else wrote the book with her name on it. Unfortunately, I was suckered into paying full price with Kobo. $17 is WAY to much, but I caved this one time, won't do it again. Sadly, my teenaged daughters can write better than this book was written, and with a lot more class!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from Dont bother. Unfortunately this is not a great book. It's not even a good book. I never thought the HP books were well written at all -- the story was great but the writing was pretty awful, and this is just as bad. Worse, because it's supposed to be a serious adult book. I'd wait for the fire sale, and there will be one. I was unlucky enough to purchase at full price :(
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from can't wait to read this book!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from bought this book today looks good will only began to read the first couple pages though
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from give it a chance!!!?? shes an amazing author
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from Uh...HELLO JK Rowling! Looking forward to reading this!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from I'm sure all the critics are just waiting to pounce on this one. Already I see bad reviews from people who haven't even read it. I hope it's fantastic.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from Good to see a book about a small town and that it isn't what it appears to be. So true of small towns! I can't wait to read it!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from I think I'll wait and see what everyone else says after they read it first. This sounds like it has the potential to be both great and terrible. I must admit I'm a little disappointed already that there's no supernatural or other worldly characters, it's what I've come to expect... or is there? I'm definitely not going to rush out and get it before I get a better synopsis!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from Must be nice to be so sure of yourselves before you even read it. Lets not condem before it even hits the shelves.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from This book is going to be filled with contradictions -- without a doubt... and a weak story.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from Sounds more like a play than a novel.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from Any release parties in Winnipeg area? Also, could someone tell me if the price listed above is the price that I would pay if I buy the book on the 27th of September?
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from not having read any of harry potter's books, i scratch my head wondering if this is a good read, seeing how his mother is considered one of the best readers in the world! Guess that makes this a no-brainer!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from Good thing I waited until the price is lower. I love J.K. Rowling. I am curious about this book - her first adult novel which is definitely incomparable to Harry Potter....
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from SOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from This seems like my kind of novel. Yes, I'm a Harry Potter fan. But I'm definitely not just buying this because of that. I believe that this novel will stand out among others, and not only because it's written by one of the best authors of the modern world. So all you haters can leave!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from seriously! 45% off....way to kill independent bookstores Heather!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from WHY THE SALE NOW?? I ORDERED THIS AND CAME TO A TOTAL OF A LITTLE OVER $40 WHEN IT WAS FIRST ANNOUNCED! at least the extra money goes to the Queen of Literature
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from I don't understand how there can already be 151 ratings of this book when it hasn't even released yet?
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from I find it hilarious how just last week I made a comment voicing my frustrations about the cover not being released. I like the cover quite a bit, it's simple and enticing. Although, I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. When I saw that picture this morning, I honestly couldn't tell what it was of. I'm sure this makes me seem completely idiotic, but I wasn't sure if they were pens, dental instruments or utensils. None of these made sense when put with the synopsis. After reading a few news posts, I realized it is an X on what is presumably a ballad. (Now that makes sense with the synopsis.) However, if I walked into Chapters and saw this book on a stand saying "New Releases" and I had never heard of J.K. Rowling (Blasphemy!), I would find the title interesting. However, the cover might make the book seem unteresting to me. Although, if I saw the spine of this book on the book shelf, took it out and looked at the cover, I might read the back, or simply put it away. I don't know if the cover would attract a lot of non Jo fans, because although you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, most of us so anyways.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from Will there be an eBook version for Kobo available on September 27th as well?
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from I love looking at Jo. It's great. But I am anxiously waiting for the cover! I have analyzed every piece of text here and now I am so excited I could die. Another long wait for a JKR book, it gives me chills! But now I need to see the cover. I don't care what's on it, I'll buy it anyways, but I need to seethe cover soon. However, if I was not as big a Jo fan as we all are, I wouldn't be very interested in this new novel. Although since it's Jo, I know she'll deliver the goods, and they will be outstanding.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated out of 5 by from Sounds interesting to me. I read her series to my boys growing up, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. She has a fantastic imagination and I can't wait to read this book. The synopsis sounds like it compares to great books such as Pillars of the Earth, Ken Folliet. I do not expect it to be like Harry Potter. JK is going to go down as one of the greatest literacy authors in history. I'm in. I know alot of others will be to.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from Im excited for this book only because it is J.K... but if I only read the synopsis I don't think I would be very interested.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from I am beyond excited for J.K.'s new book, from the brief synopsis given it sounds like it will be a stand alone novel and not a series, but thats okay with me! The brief doesn't actually sound like a book that I would pick up on my own, but since its J.K. Rowling, I'm definitly going to read it. I'm not expecting anything remotely like Harry Potter because nothing will ever top it, and I don't expect her to. BUT I am expecting some crazy cool and unique twists, as per J.K. style!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from I think I'll wait for the reviews.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from It's no Harry Potter but c'mon it's J.K Rowling of course its gonna be friggen good!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from This does not sound interesting at all. She thrived in the fictional world, but she is attempting an entirely new field of writing. It would be like Tolken writing about sports.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from I am so excited!!! I'm sure is going to be just as amazing as harry potter. Jo never fails to impress her readers!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from I'm excited for this :)
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from I'm so freaking excited! As long as you don't try to compare this with Harry Potter I'm sure it's going to be amazing. J.K rowling is a fabulous writer!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated out of 5 by from Looking forward to reading her newest book. She has big shoes to fill! About the new J.K. Rowling book. A Casual Vacancy
Date published: 2013-10-25

– More About This Product –

The Casual Vacancy

by J. K. Rowling

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: September 27, 2012

Publisher: Little, Brown And Company

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0316228559

ISBN - 13: 9780316228558

From the Publisher

A big novel about a small town...

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?

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.

About the Author

J. K. (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling was born in Gloucestershire, U. K. on July 31, 1965. Rowling attended Tutshill Primary and then went on to Wyedean Comprehensive where she was made Head Girl in her final year. She received a degree in French from Exeter University. She later took some teaching classes at Moray House Teacher Training College and a teacher-training course in Manchester, England. This extensive education created a perfect foundation to spark the Harry Potter series that Rowling is renowned for. After college, Rowling moved to London to work for Amnesty International, where she researched human rights abuses in Francophone Africa, and worked as a bilingual secretary. In 1992, Rowling quit office work to move to Portugal and teach English as a Second Language. There she met and married her husband, a Portuguese TV journalist. But the marriage dissolved soon after the birth of their daughter. It was after her stint teaching in Portugal that Rowling began to write the premise for Harry Potter. She returned to Britain and settled in Edinburgh to be near her sister, and attempted to at least finish her book, before looking for another teaching job. Rowling was working as a French teacher when her book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published in June of 1997 and was an overnight sensation. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone won the British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year, was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Award, and received a Commend
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