Reader reviews and comments on The Casual Vacancy, plus links to write your own review.

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The Casual Vacancy

by J.K. (Joanne) Rowling

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. (Joanne) Rowling
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2012, 512 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2013, 512 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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Power Reviewer Cloggie Downunder (08/17/13)

a brilliant read
The Casual Vacancy is the first adult novel by popular British author, J.K.Rowling. This contemporary fiction is set in the seemingly idyllic English village of Pagford, where the sudden death of Parish Councillor, Barry Fairbrother creates a casual vacancy on the parish council. As subsequent events are narrated from the points of view of various different characters, the picture emerges of a village whose inhabitants are not all satisfied with their lot in life, a village of simmering tensions waiting to boil over. Rowling’s characters are easily recognisable as the denizens of the typical English village, but at the same time, show individual depth and appeal (or repugnance, as the case may be). And it seems quite a few of the characters have a secret (or two). The setting, characters and events will resonate with readers, and these same happenings drive the characters to desperate actions that ultimately result in tragedy for some. Rowling manages to pack quite a lot into this novel: she has an obese megalomaniac, drug addicts, computer-savvy teens, a fawning wife, a violent husband and father, an anxious teacher, and a caring social worker, to name just a few. There is domestic violence, rape, racism, corruption, self-mutilation, bullying, gossip, teen pregnancy, child abuse and SQL injection. But if this sounds depressing, it is relieved by the underlying black humour that fills the novel. This all comes together to make a brilliant read.
Power Reviewer Dorothy L (07/24/13)

A Huge Disappointment
I really disliked this book. Neither the story line nor the characters were engaging. It was very boring and at times unreadable. I would never recommend it!
MaryBeth (12/05/12)

Awful
Rowling in my option tried too hard to prove that she could write a book written for adults. The language and sexual situations were sometimes over descriptive and awkwardly used. Hard to imagine that in the small town of Pagford there was not one happy, normal person. Instead every deviant, maladjusted, depressed person resided there. And the ending was simply disturbing.
Jeff Smith (11/29/12)

Dissapointing
I was very disappointed with this book. I had looked forward to it since it was announced. I bought it and read it immediately. When I reached around page 130 I thought about quitting, but since it was J.K. Rowling I decided to keep going. The book is definitely well written and easy to read, but I found the story uninteresting and, to me, there was not a single likeable character. There were some interesting characters, but no one that I could care about. I would not recommend this book unless you just want to read something sad.
Maeve Caplin (11/20/12)

A Casual Vacancy. J K Rowling
A really great first adult book, reminding me of Parrish Council meetings in the 60s and 70s- which I suffered as a child. Well written, witty and true to life.
Power Reviewer Diane S. (10/25/12)

Not a happy little town
An unhappy little town filled with unhappy, unlikable people but somehow rather addicting nonetheless. Great characterizations, wonderfully dark, tongue in cheek writing, actually kind of reminded me of the town I live in and our relations with the town just to the North. Of course we have many likable people in our town. This is not a quick read, it has no major actions, but is a study of people, their motives, their inner lives and their phoniness, all exposed for many to see.
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