Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling


When Barry Fairbrother 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 fa├žade 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? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

My Thoughts:

I got about 20 pages into it and put it down. I don't think I'll be picking it up again, and it makes me sad...I thought I was more than willing to give JK Rowling a fair shake. But I couldn't do it. Here's why:

1. The language. Come on, Joann. Seriously. Was it really necessary to make me wander through a cesspool just to prove to me that I'm not at Hogwarts anymore? 

2. Lack of a central character. By 20 pages in, I want to have met at least one character that I feel an inkling of sympathy for. Unfortunately, all of the people I met in Pagford were just icky. 

If I was head over heels for one of the characters, I might have pressed through the language, or vice versa. Thank you for not making it difficult to stick to my values on this one. 

Unfinished--but I give the first 20 pages 1/5 stars. Did I mention that I'm sad about that?


  1. *Snort* I have been receiving merciless ribbing from another Internet friend about my intention to start The Casual Vacancy shortly. I'm excited because I never got into Harry Potter - the first book was just too much a kids' book, which isn't my thing. So I will try to stick it out for at least 40 pages and let you know if it improves :)

  2. I haven't had any desire to read this book even though I'm a die hard Harry Potter fan, and this review has just reinforced my decision. :)

    It doesn't look like my kind of book, but best of luck to JK Rowling.