The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Review by Lauren
source- book was a gift from a friend
Official Summary: When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little 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: A friend had given me this novel as a Christmas gift, and I finally found the time to read it. Luckily for me, it worked out that I could post this on J.K. Rowling’s birthday and I figured nothing could be more fitting!
For those of you who don’t know, The Casual Vacancy is the first novel that Rowling published after all things Harry Potter. It’s also her first adult novel. While it received mixed reviews, I really found myself loving it.
I’ll admit, it can read kind of slow in the beginning and I was a bit worried it would turn out boring or simply not my thing. That didn’t happen though. As I kept reading, I found myself fully invested in the story and the characters within. I liked that everyone had their problems. They were all faced with hardships, yet they never seemed overly heroic. They had their moments where you disagreed with the actions they took or the things they believed in…but it just made the story all that more realistic.
The Casual Vacancy follows various point of views, and it took some time to grasp who everyone was, but once I did, things started to flow. You get teens, adults, men, women, “insiders”, “outsiders”; in simple terms, this novel fully encompasses the town of Pagford. It’s a form of writing that I felt really worked for the novel. Everything starts to unravel a bit after Barry Fairweather dies, so it makes sense to focus on all the different people that his life and death affected. With him gone, drama unfolds and secrets are eventually revealed.
While it may not be good for everyone, I would recommend giving The Casual Vacancy a chance. I personally think Rowling did a tremendous job in her first adult novel. It’s a literary book, very much different from Harry Potter, but I think if people push through, it could be worth it.