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The Casual Vacancy by [Rowling, J.K.]
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The Casual Vacancy Kindle Edition

3.2 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Review

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: 2192 KB
  • Print Length: 494 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: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,780 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Man, this book hits you in waves. The first quarter was a bit puzzling; a lot of characters, a lot of stories, a lot of trying to suss out where Rowling could be going with this. The middle was a hellscape--I kept picking it up, because the characters were so vivid and compelling, but I felt like I'd been reading this story for five years and would be reading it for fifteen more. The last quarter was the best sort of agony: everything rushed together so suddenly, and so perfectly, it was like a dam releasing as the book returned threefold every effort I'd put into it. I can't remember the last time I encountered such a strongly-felt denouement.

Real talk: Casual Vacancy is not for everyone. It very much reads like JK Rowling re-introducing herself to the world, as more than just the Harry Potter lady. The opinions she presents, the subjects she highlights and dismisses, the characters she builds, feel motivated by a very personal desire to round herself out in the eyes of her public. And I love it and agree with it and am amazed that an author could write such an uncompromising story with such skill. But it's very long. And it's not always clear where things are going. And, in places, it describes things that can be difficult to read also. My only advice is, if you're going to dive in, give it as much of your patience as you can spare.

In terms of criticisms, I'd say the only one I have now (aka: having made it through to the pay-out; I would've had far more complaints before!) is that I wish she'd made her story more accessible to people who may not have particularly open minds. Or, to put things differently, might have forgotten their humanity.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm only 20% into the novel and honestly so far, I'm finding it boring. Too many details - seems all over the place . Perhaps it will all come together later but for now it's not grabbing me. Not sure I will finish it if it doesn't get better soon.
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By A. Volk #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER 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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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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