When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the 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 parish 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?
The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.
I enjoyed The Casual Vacancy although not as much as I was anticipating. Trying really hard not to compare to Harry Potter as JK Rowling’s long awaited first adult novel gets released with little publicity. I think the publishers were hoping that although The Casual Vacancy is of a different genre to Harry Potter; the legacy would carry over the popularity. However I think this is major oversight. It is always a problem when such a well loved series could turn you into a “One Hit Wonder” should an author wish to change genre mid career. I think should The Casual Vacancy have the same amount of hype created over Harry Potter it may have been better received.
JK Rowling has a lot of loyal fans – many who have grown up with the Harry phenomenon; now are adults so there is no questioning that the readers are there. But I fear that many readers would be disappointed as the magic (pardon the pun) spun in Harry Potter is gone. The book is slow in many places, feeling like I was wading through bumf to get to the good stuff.
The storey is good, current and very believable. It mainly follows a death of a parish councillor and the lives of who nominate themselves to take the post. There are many sub stories which following people who are affected by the council and the decisions that are made. It’s very current covering death, council housing, drug addicts and adolescents. The good bits are very good but it isn’t the easy read which JK Rowling fans are accustomed to. I think hardcore fans will persevere where many will join the growing list of readers who did not finish.
I suppose it all boils down to one question: Does as author write to sell books? Or write a classic piece of literature that readers will enjoy again and again? As Harry Potter is one and The Casual Vacancy is the other. I’m rating this as an Okay Read. My next book is My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding.