Kinx's Book Nook: Review: The Casual Vacancy

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Review: The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Published by Little Brown and Company
Released in September 2012
503 pages


When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abby, but lies beneath the pretty facade 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 is 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?

The Casual Vacancy was a very difficult book to read. I say that based on  storyline, not the actual writing. Ms. Rowling has a beautiful writing style and can tell amazing stories. However, in her first book written specifically for adults, she tells a very depressing tale of a town at war with itself.

As I starting reading this book, I was really confused by all the character introductions. There are a lot of characters in the this book and it is difficult to keep everyone straight. I was about halfway through the book before I obtained a full grasp on all the characters.

There aren't many appealing characters in this book. When you think you like someone, he/she will do something horrible; not a lot of redeeming qualities in the town of Pagford. However, Ms. Rowling was able to capture the small-mindedness of a small community. Judgment and prejudice runs rampant throughout Pagford. You feel the animosity felt by all.  

The hero of the book is the deceased Barry Fairbrother. After his death, he is practically sainted by most in Pagford. His friends want to continue his dream, whether they believe in it or not, and his enemies want to destroy it. This ongoing battle brings out the worst qualities that Barry would have hated. 

It is so sad on how badly the children are treated. The abuse is very difficult to stomach. The truly innocent do indeed suffer the most. 

Be prepared that this is a very depressing and sad book. There really isn't anything uplifting in the end. I'm not even sure that any of the characters learned any lessons. They will keep wallowing in their own judgment and misery.

In the end, I found this book really difficult and depressing. I won’t say that I was disappointed. It was beautifully written but I just didn’t appreciate Ms. Rowling’s choice of storyline.


  1. I have read lots of bad reviews of this one, think I shall pass LOL

  2. Everyone is commenting about the barrage of character introductions on this one. I still want to read it though


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