The Book Page II

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, had a mixed reception from both critics and from the Harry Potter Fan Club.  A strange setting, some  might have thought - revolving around the Pagford Parish Council and a battle between two factions within the village. And certainly not the language one had come to expect from the Wizard of Hogwarts.


When Barry Fairbrother falls down dead on page 5 he sets the wheels in motion for a Parish Council election, at the heart of which will be all he has worked for in terms of bringing the warring factions of Pagford together. All through the book the reader cannot help but wonder what would have happened if Barry hadn't died so unexpectedly on page 5. Most of all,we wonder what difference it would have made to poor, doomed Krystal Weedon, the "bad girl", desperately trying to keep her dysfunctional family together, whose talent as a rower Barry worked hard to foster.


Knowing something about local government, I winced at some of the obvious errors in this tale of a parish council at war - the book is not as well-researched as it might seem though I doubt that will worry many readers. The strong language throughout will shock some - I can imagine parents hiding the book from their sons and daughters.  


Reviewers have made much of Rowling's depiction of the smug, middle class Pagford stalwarts and certainly most of the characters are not particularly likeable on the surface. However this is a book about secrets and at the heart of the book are the secrets that almost every one of the characters harbours. It is in understanding the secrets that the reader comes to understand (if not to like) the characters.


I cried at the end. One review I read said the main problem with The Casual Vacancy is that, unlike in the Harry Potter novels, there is no hope of redemption, no magic wand to dispel the evil. Certainly there is no sense that everyone will "live happily ever after."


But the fact that I cried meant I cared. That must count for something.

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Latest comments

12.08 | 09:53

Very nice, really i appreciate....well done.

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21.05 | 10:09

I'm needing to find information about the usher family tree for my aunty, her great grandparent where Thomas and Phoebe Usher would I've been researching

21.05 | 10:03

Hi Karen,
I'm helping my aunt with her family tree her maiden name was usher. do you have any other information or found anything about the usher family

18.04 | 17:19

Oh that's such a good read Jaqui! It's great to see it through your eyes, and you capture it beautifully... and you will indeed look like real athletes too!

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