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The Casual Vacancy Hardcover – Sep 27 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (Sept. 27 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316228534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316228534
  • ASIN: 0316228532
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #51,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for THE CASUAL VACANCY:

"I had come under the spell of a great novel....A big, ambitious, brilliant, profane, funny, deeply upsetting and magnificently eloquent novel of contemporary England, rich with literary intelligence....This is a deeply moving book by somebody who understands both human beings and novels very, very deeply."—Lev Grossman, Time

"A vivid read with great, memorable characters and a truly emotional payoff....Rowling captures the humanity in everyone, even if that humanity is not always a pretty sight."—People

"This book represents a truckload of shrewdness.... There were sentences I underlined for the sheer purpose of figuring out how English words could be combined so delightfully....genuinely moving."—Washington Post

"A positively propulsive read."—Wall Street Journal

"An insanely compelling page-turner....The Casual Vacancy is a comedy, but a comedy of the blackest sort, etched with acid and drawn with pitch....Rowling proves ever dexterous at launching multiple plot lines that roar along simultaneously, never entangling them except when she means to. She did not become the world's bestselling author by accident. She knows down in her bones how to make you keep turning the pages."—The Daily Beast

"There are plenty of pleasures to be had in The Casual Vacancy....Parts of the story would be tonally of a piece with any Richard Price or Dennis Lehane novel, or an episode of The Wire."—Parade

"Rowling knows how to write a twisty, involving plot....She is clearly a skilled writer."—The Huffington Post

"The Casual Vacancy is a complete joy to read....a stunning, brilliant, outrageously gripping and entertaining evocation of British society today."—The Mirror (UK)

"Rowling has written a grand novel...a very brave book."—The Bookseller (UK)

"A study of provincial life, with a large cast and multiple, interlocking plots, drawing inspiration from Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot...The Casual Vacancy immerses the reader in a richly peopled, densely imagined world...intelligent, workmanlike, and often funny."—The Guardian (UK)

"The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling's first adult novel, is sometimes funny, often startlingly well observed....Jane Austen herself would admire the way [Rowling] shows the news of Barry's death spreading like a virus round Pagford."—Telegraph (UK)

About the Author

J.K. Rowling is the author of the bestselling Harry Potter series of seven books, published between 1997 and 2007, which have sold more than 450 million copies worldwide, are distributed in more than 200 territories, translated into 74 languages, and have been turned into eight blockbuster films. She has also written two small volumes, which appear as the titles of Harry’s schoolbooks within the novels. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through The Ages were published by Scholastic Bloomsbury Children’s Books in March 2001 in aid of Comic Relief. In December 2008, The Tales of Beedle the Bard was published in aid of the Children’s High Level Group, and quickly became the fastest selling book of the year.

As well as an OBE for services to children’s literature, J.K. Rowling is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees including the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, France’s Légion d’honneur, and the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award, and she has been a Commencement Speaker at Harvard University. She supports a wide number of charitable causes through her charitable trust Volant, and is the founder of Lumos, a charity working to transform the lives of disadvantaged children.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By VCR on 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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89 of 95 people found the following review helpful By A. Volk #1 REVIEWER#1 HALL OF FAME on 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By CasyK on Oct. 14 2012
Format: Hardcover
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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