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The Casual Vacancy [Kindle Edition]

J.K. Rowling
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)

Print List Price: CDN$ 11.00
Kindle Price: CDN$ 8.99 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Sold by: Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
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Product Description


This is a wonderful novel. JK Rowling's skills as a storyteller are on a par with RL Stevenson, Conan Doyle and PD James. Here, they are combined with her ability to create memorable and moving characters to produce a state-of-England novel driven by tenderness and fury Melvyn Bragg, The Observer A needle-sharp and darkly comic expose of today's class-ridden society ... A highly readable morality tale for our times Emma Lee-Potter, Daily Express The Casual Vacancy is a stunning, brilliant, outrageously gripping and entertaining evocation of British society today. [J.K. Rowling] has done a rather brave thing and pulled it off magnificently Henry Sutton, The Mirror One marvels at the skill with which Rowling weaves such vivid characters in and out of each other's lives Christopher Brookmyre, The Daily Telegraph Heartbreaking - turning the page seems unbearable, but not as much as putting down the book would be Deepti Hajela, Associated Press An exquisite and occasionally moving black comedy ... The acid test - I suspect it would do well even if its author's name weren't J.K. Rowling David Robinson, Scotsman A big, ambitious, brilliant, profane, funny, deeply upsetting and magnificently eloquent novel of contemporary England ... This is a deeply moving book by somebody who understands both human beings and novels very, very deeply Lev Grossman, Time Magazine Insightful, meaningful, daring and resolutely challenging to tabloid assumptions regarding the moral worth of individuals Scotland on Sunday The action bowls along compellingly, most of the characters are vividly drawn and there are some sharp - often very sharp - observations about their social pretensions ... a bold and distinctive effort The Sunday Telegraph This is a novel of insight and skill, deftly drawn and, at the end, cleverly pulled together. It plays to her strengths as a storyteller The Economist The Casual Vacancy is a brilliant novel, entertaining, intelligent, moving, passionate and hard-hitting; touching on familiar subjects but approaching them with great originality and skill. Moreover, it's unputdownable ... The novel is a triumph Irish Times

Product Description

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 town’s 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?

Photo credit: © Wall to Wall Media Ltd. Photographer: Andrew Montgomery.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1341 KB
  • Print Length: 513 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown; 1 edition (Sept. 27 2012)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007THA4FI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,407 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
91 of 97 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very dark departure Sept. 29 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Do you remember when Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe did that play where he was nude and smoked to distance himself from the kid-friendly HP series? Well, this is the literary equivalent for JK Rowling. This book IS NOT HARRY POTTER, or anything like it. It's a dark view of the lives of "ordinary" citizens in a British town. A parish council leader dies suddenly, leaving a "casual vacancy" to be filled. This story is about how that happens, but really, it's more about the people who it happens to. The parents as well as their adolescent children. In that regard, we see some of the old JK Rowling as she spends a lot of time looking at the lives of teenagers.

Only this book is completely R-rated. Violence, abuse, nudity, drugs, crime, and severely adult language are found throughout the book. This is most certainly not something you'd want your child to be reading. So I get the impression that, like so many famous actors or writers, this is Rowling's attempt to show that she can do more than just the series that made her famous.

So does it work? I think so. It's not the best modern fiction that I've read, but it's not the worst. If you know what you're getting, a dark, sometimes satirical look into modern family lives, then yes, the book works. I found the teenagers to be at least as interesting as their parents, if not more so. While it was hard to find a lot of sympathetic characters in this book, at least the characters are generally interesting. The story does tend to drag on a little in the middle parts, but it then whips forward to a satisfying conclusion.

So should you buy it? Well, that depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for anything similar to Harry Potter, take a pass.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging, heart-wrenching and memorable Oct. 14 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I can understand why a lot of people either dislike or don't know what to make of this book. Rowling presents a set of deeply flawed, complex, and (in my opinion) all-too-real characters; none of whom are easily or completely likeable, just like people in real life. For me, this has always been the core strength of her writing (granted that the Harry Potter series was slightly and understandably more black-and-white in this regard). It took me two weeks to finish The Casual Vacancy because, for the first hundred or so pages, I also did not know what to make of this book. I felt uncomfortable being confronted with situation after situation where the injustices of life and the unpleasantness of the human condition screamed at me for pages on end. I recognized pieces of myself and the people I've known in these characters. And then as the days pressed on and I read a few more chapters each night, I gradually found myself eager to come home and spend more time getting to know these characters; not because I was expecting some thrilling, suspenseful narrative climax (there is none), but because Rowling is a master of capturing the complexities of what it means to be human in all its many forms.

Is this book fantastic literature? That is debatable. The strength of the prose comes and goes and there were only a few passages so eloquently worded and I stopped to really soak them in. But for me, Rowling has accomplished in this text what I have come to know her for; she has created a set of rounded and complex characters that will continue to linger with me long after I have finished reading the book (which, for me, is rare when I read fiction).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What goes on behind the net curtains Oct. 14 2012
By CasyK
Firstly I listened to the audio version which was read to perfection by Tom Hollander, narrating in an understated way to allow the listener to feel the full impact of the words and deeds of the characters in this small town.

As has been said before this is very different in many ways from Harry Potter. However, the later HP books were darker and dealt with people's prejudices, festering emotional baggage, jealousies, abuse etc and all the novels share JKRs extreme attention to details so that I could really see the characters and the town so clearly as she cleverly describes through the eyes of the other characters. The themes in this novel can be seen in Harry Potter, depression, dominance, betrayal, homosexuality, anarchy, they simply are not so much at the fore.

This is a further iteration of the English village novel, however, it is not the usual bustling celebration but more the cracks that lay ugly and seeping below the beautiful chocolate box like veneer. The complacency, hypocrisy , selfishness, narrow-mindedness, ignorance, prejudice, abuse, double standards, ignorance and sheer unpleasantness of the great majority of the inhabitants of Pagford,nr Bristol, is a constant challenge to your senses. I found the story to be somewhat of a large heavy boulder slowly rolling down the hill. It starts off with the death of Councillor Barry Fairbrother and we are shown how his death impacts on certain members of the town in less than flattering ways. It takes quite a long time to get into all the characters and what they are about but suddenly, about 100 pages in, you begin to see what is going on and the boulder moves along swiftly.

JKR brings forward some characters who are rarely encountered, and insists we notice them standing blinking in the spot light.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 15 days ago by Margaret Reid
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
OK .
Published 21 days ago by J. Macgregor
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
eh !
Published 3 months ago by andrea
2.0 out of 5 stars I had to spot reading thought it would get better but it didn't
I had to spot reading thought it would get better but it didn't,i found she was writing in the third person all the time. Also the story line didn't flow.
Published 3 months ago by Tracey
3.0 out of 5 stars Average but readable
I really expected more from J.K. It was a fast read but the ending lacked.
Published 6 months ago by LostandFound
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I didn't care for the story not as good as her other books.
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over Harry Potter - give Rowling some space!
I picked up "The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling when it first came out and couldn't get past the first pages. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Visnja Murgic
4.0 out of 5 stars Rowling's writing might be like. I thought the story was interesting
I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books (bit of a rebel, I know) so I went into this novel with no preconceived notions of what Ms. Rowling's writing might be like. Read more
Published 11 months ago by J. Teal
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it. I guess after all the Harry Potter ...
Cheesy and kind of Coronation Street(y). A seedy little tale about some very seedy horrid people. - Contrary to the mixed reviews, many of which panned it, I loved it. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Nelle
2.0 out of 5 stars ... an uninteresting story peopled with characters who were either...
I found this to be an uninteresting story peopled with characters who were either pathetic, ugly or unlikeable, sometimes all three. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Catherine A Morton
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