Thursday, 4 October 2012

Review // The Casual Vacancy - J.K.Rowling

Published - 27th September 2012
Published By - Little, Brown & Company
Format - Hardback
Goodreads Synopsis - 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 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 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?


A little nervous about reviewing such a huge book! But J.K.Rowling's new book and first adult novel as a must-read as soon as I had it in my hands and I have a few thoughts I wanted to share.

I picked up The Casual Vacancy when it was released. I had it pre-ordered but it actually worked out cheaper to buy it somewhere else! I honestly could not wait to see what the infamous Jo Rowling had in-store for us.

Starting with the cover - i'm still not sure about it. Now that i've finished the book, I understand the relevance of the cover art but i'm still not taken with it. This book contains a LOT of themes and intense plot lines that could have been focused on for the cover. Having said that, I do appreciate that the simple cover hides the content in much the same way Pagford hides.

Being an adult book, there are obviously adult topics that are dealt with in The Casual Vacancy. Death, puberty, marital issues, families, parent/child relationships, self discovery, addiction...the list goes on. I was shocked by the amount of swearing in the book at first but it was so frequent that I didn't even notice by the end!

What I did find interesting, and I kept thinking about it throughout the novel, was the comparisons to Harry Potter. I was hoping I could get through this review without needing to make reference to Rowling's previous works but I couldn't help myself.
The people of Pagford/Yarvil are facing real life, disturbing problems with serious consequences, much like the people of Harry's world only this time there is no safety of magic to help them out. I've always felt like Harry Potter was an adult novel dressed in children's clothing. Rowling has a wonderful way of weaving plotlines and characters that mirror real life problems going on and The Casual Vacancy is no different.

A troubling story matched with troubling characters that you genuinely care for (mostly). I'm excited to see what else comes from Rowling in the future :)



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