Sunday, October 21, 2012

Book Review - The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

JK Rowling’s first novel for adults is as far removed from Harry Potter as you can get.

There’s not a wizard or magic spell in sight.

Set firmly in the world of humans, The Casual Vacancy reveals the ugly side of a cast of characters living in a fictitious English town.

Essentially, it’s a book about not-very-nice people being horrible to each other.

It’s also a story about attitudes towards people who are less fortunate than ourselves.

The novel begins with the death of Pagford parish councillor, Barry Fairbrother.

Barry’s death leaves a vacancy in the local council, calling into question the fate of a local housing trust estate and the families living within it.

The Casual Vacancy has received mixed reviews.

However, despite my dislike of many of the characters, I really enjoyed this book.

Before reading The Casual Vacancy I had watched an interview with JK Rowling in which she revealed her inspiration for writing it:

“We discuss the poor as this faceless, lumpen mass….

“I was one of those people. I know how it feels to be talked about in that way….You lose your individuality.

“For a long time in my head, the novel was called Responsible….I’m very interested in how responsible we are, each of us individually for our own personal happiness [and] how responsible we are towards other people.”


Knowing what Rowling was trying to achieve gave me a greater appreciation for her book.

I also admired her ability to inject humour into a sobering story without detracting from her message.

Rowling has a skill for creating characters with personalities that jump off the page and I liked the way she revealed the inner workings of their minds.

Some were so grotesque as to be quite comical.

At times I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Would you like to read this book? Buy it here online: 

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Happy reading!

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