The Casual Vacancy
By JK Rowling
Published by: Little, Brown, & Company
September 27, 2012
The Casual Vacancy
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 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.
By Chad (The Last Passage)
December 30, 2012
I read JK Rowling’s novel, The Casual Vacancy, when it was first released (finishing it back in October). Since then, the novel has been on my mind, so I decided to give the audiobook a shot. (So this review will be a mixture of my first impressions and second read through.) Now, I’m not really a fan of audiobooks. I’ve tried a few, and I just haven’t been able to enjoy them.
So quickly, I can only say good things about the audio version of this novel. Tom Hollander (Pride and Prejudice and Pirates of the Caribbean) does an incredible job narrating the story. He has the excellent ability to change his voice that makes the characters come to life so easily. I hope he does more high profile novels in the future, I would gladly listen to anything narrated by him. Continued here
By Jennifer (Literate Housewife)
October 29, 2012
The Casual Vacancy is a bleak tale of small town life and politics. The Pagford Parish Council is in the middle of an internal civil war regarding the fate of a low income neighborhood called the Fields. This neighborhood, which is partially overseen and funded by both Pagford and a larger neighboring city, is an eyesore to many in Pagford, who view their quaint, middle class community as better. They do not want children from the Fields to attend their nicer schools and they do not want the associated methadone clinic in one of their rental properties. Others feel just the opposite. They believe that the connection to Pagford provides an opportunity for the children to make something of themselves and does not in any way diminish Pagford itself. Barry Fairbrother is in the process of taking the pro-Fields side of the debate to the papers when, on his anniversary, he falls over dead of an aneurism at the country club. His death, which results in a casual vacancy on the council, throws the future of the Council, the Fields, and the lives of all interested parties into an upheaval that creates more victims than winners. Continued here
Reviewed December 24, 2012
What secrets lurk in the hearts of the residents of Pagford? This is the central question in Rowling’s dark novel that charts the cutthroat competition for an empty seat on the town council. In this audio edition, the challenge for narrator Tom Hollander is the book’s varied cast, which features a dozen main characters and many minor ones—all requiring unique voices and accents. Additionally challenging is the fact that Rowling’s characters often act one way in public and another way—a rather horrid way—in private. Much to his credit, Hollander handles all of this with great aplomb, whether he’s voicing the boozy Samantha, her pompous father-in-law, or Fats, a skinny teenager who very well might be a sociopath. Hollander exhibits particular skill creating a full range of voices for the book’s male characters, e.g., the timid squeaks of the commitment-phobic Gavin and the curt, deep grunts of duplicitous Simon Price. Hollander’s narration captures the sardonic wit of the novel, animating the author’s acerbic observations of human weakness with intelligence and style. Hollander even sings, offering a solid rendition of “Morning Has Broken” in a pivotal funeral scene. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Sept.) Review