The Casual Vacancy
Little, Brown Book Group
Pub Date: Sept 27 2012
When Barry Fairbrother dies a casual vacancy opens up in the town council of Pagford. Through the eyes of a variety of the townsfolk we get insight into why this is turning out to be a small scale war of sorts. We get a very intimate look into the lives of the people from Pagford and find out that things are rarely what they appear and to what lengths people are willing to go to get their way.
This is not the type of story that I usually gravitate towards, but seeing as it is written by J.K. Rowling, I decided to check it out. It had a very slow start for me, but once I got into the story I found it to be very captivating, well written and with a great ending. J.K. once again shows us that she is very good at tying the story up nicely and that she can write things besides Harry Potter.
In fact the actual storyline in the book is very small, it’s not a book filled with exciting battles or great rows. It’s more of a collection of the little things that happen behind closed doors that slowly pull you in. In a way it reminded me a little of a reality show because you find out a lot more about these people who are so much different than they appear. I really liked it once I got into it, because you just get sucked into the dynamic between these people and how everyone feels differently about the same things.
The characters were amazing, they were all very human and multifaceted. I admit that I didn’t like about half of the characters, but they were still written well enough for me to want to read more about them and their personal situation. Everyone definitely had their own character, flaws and all. It was just really interesting to see how these people appeared in the eyes of others and how they actually felt. This is the sort of thing I always wonder about in real life, in what measure people are who we think they are.
I have always enjoyed J.K. Rowling’s writing and I always will. She makes you care and sympathise with people you have nothing in common with. But in all honesty this book had a rather slow start for me. Because it switched so much from person to person, especially in the start, I got a little lost at times. This effect was made even worse by the fact that in the beginning I only read for short amounts of time, making me lose track of who was who and what their connection was to each other. But once I really got into the book, which was pretty late (about 120 pages in), it was very good.
To wrap it all up: I enjoyed this book once I got past the slow start. For me it definitely proved that J.K. Rowling can write other genres as well. If you have not read this book I definitely recommend you do so!