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The Casual Vacancy
The Casual Vacancy
Author: J. K. Rowling
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...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780316228534
ISBN-10: 0316228532
Publication Date: 9/27/2012
Pages: 503
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.

2.9 stars, based on 185 ratings
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Grazona avatar reviewed The Casual Vacancy on + 119 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
I gave up on this book a little less than half way in. It's strange because I didn't necessarily dislike it, I just couldn't get motivated to keep going. Rowling's writing is beautiful and vivid but the wordiness made it a slow, difficult read. I didn't find any of the characters likable and couldn't seem to get invested in the story.
chelmo avatar reviewed The Casual Vacancy on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
This book is very slow for the first 200 pages or so due to overwhelming character development. I decided to power through and reserve judgment until I was done. And in the end I loved it!

This book is a dark and depressing look at what goes on behind closed doors in a small village in England. If you are reading this book solely because you enjoyed Harry Potter, you may be disappointed. But if you can look past the wonderful wizard and get into this story outside of the HP context, you may actually enjoy it.
gailysnaily avatar reviewed The Casual Vacancy on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Despite the fact that this book was very bleak and dark, I really liked it. I think she has a wonderful writing style and I didn't mind the long list of characters. Please note that this is not at all like the Harry Potter is very adult.
reviewed The Casual Vacancy on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I was surprised to find the first non-Harry Potter book, by their author, offered by PBS. As an 82 year old reader, I enjoyed the movies so wanted to give this book a try. I found it long winded and trite, I'm sorry to say. It is a long book and I plodded along through it, thinking it couldn't get any worse. It did!

I would suggest that Mrs. Rowling stick to writing about little children riding on brooms instead of using her popularity to rope in readers because of prior popularity.
mardon avatar reviewed The Casual Vacancy on
Helpful Score: 3
This book was a major disappointment for me. I was looking forward to it - not expecting "Harry Potter" - but looking forward to a good read from an author who knows how to write a good story.

It's rare for me to just give up on a book, but after 175 pages I still wasn't enjoying it. Too many characters, none of them likable. A slow slog through story development. I found myself dreading it. It's off to the next person wishing on PBS ... I hope you like it better.
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bookjunkie5781 avatar reviewed The Casual Vacancy on + 35 more book reviews
I'll admit, I read this for all the reasons people say not to read it but my curiosity wouldn't let me not at least try to read it. I went in with eyes wide open and the full knowledge that this was indeed not Harry Potter, so I was not deceived in the least. However, the story line was not something I am into and the charters were ranged from boring to appalling for me. So needless to say this ended up on my DNF list and I do not see myself going back to give this a second shot.
kermitreads avatar reviewed The Casual Vacancy on + 53 more book reviews
JK writes beautifully laid out books with amazing character development. That is hard to fit into one "tiny" book, by her standards. I had a hard time keeping everyone straight until the second half of the book. Please be aware there is a rape scene that could be triggering. I did not plow through it like HP books, but I was not disappointed either. It's hard to live up to your own reputation.
tulikangaroo avatar reviewed The Casual Vacancy on + 6 more book reviews
Don't expect Harry Potter, because it's not.

What The Casual Vacancy IS is a novel full of deeply flawed characters interacting with each other and trying to live up to expectations (of themselves and of society). When town councilman Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly, a mad scramble for his vacant seat ensues and brings up years of prejudice and greed. Motivations are laid bare, and it's not pretty.

The most sympathetic character is Krystal Weedon, a poor teenager with a junkie mother and a bleak future. Of everyone, however, she's the one with the most hope.

This book is a modernized Peyton Place - really more about the environment than the people in it.
coloradoreader avatar reviewed The Casual Vacancy on
I liked this book a great deal. Yes, it is not anything like the Harry Potter series ( and I consider myself a Harry Potter fan). Yes, it's a departure from what JK Rowling has previously given us. This book is well written, dark and gritty. I found it intriguing.