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The Casual Vacancy [Mass Market Paperback]

J. K. Rowling
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,075 customer reviews)
RRP: £5.90
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Book Description

30 Sep 2014

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 facade 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 big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company; Reprint edition (30 Sep 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316228591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316228596
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,075 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 610,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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More About the Author

J.K. Rowling is the author of the bestselling Harry Potter series of seven books, published between 1997 and 2007, which have sold over 450 million copies worldwide, are distributed in more than 200 territories, translated into 74 languages, and have been turned into eight blockbuster films. She has also written two small volumes, which appear as the titles of Harry's schoolbooks within the novels. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through The Ages were published by Bloomsbury Children's Books in March 2001 in aid of Comic Relief. In December 2008, The Tales of Beedle the Bard was published in aid of the Children's High Level Group, and quickly became the fastest selling book of the year

As well as an OBE for services to children's literature, J.K. Rowling is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees including the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, France's Légion d'Honneur, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award, and she has been a Commencement Speaker at Harvard University USA. She supports a wide number of charitable causes through her charitable trust Volant, and is the founder of Lumos, a charity working to transform the lives of disadvantaged children

For further information about J.K. Rowling, please visit her new website: www.jkrowling.com

(Photo credit: JP Masclet)

Product Description

Review

This is a wonderful novel. JK Rowling's skills as a storyteller are on a par with RL Stevenson, Conan Doyle and PD James. Here, they are combined with her ability to create memorable and moving characters to produce a state-of-England novel driven by tenderness and fury (Melvyn Bragg, The Observer)

A needle-sharp and darkly comic expose of today's class-ridden society . . . A highly readable morality tale for our times (Emma Lee-Potter, Daily Express)

The Casual Vacancy is a stunning, brilliant, outrageously gripping and entertaining evocation of British society today. [J.K. Rowling] has done a rather brave thing and pulled it off magnificently (Henry Sutton, The Mirror)

One marvels at the skill with which Rowling weaves such vivid characters in and out of each other's lives (Christopher Brookmyre, The Daily Telegraph)

Heartbreaking - turning the page seems unbearable, but not as much as putting down the book would be (Deepti Hajela, Associated Press)

An exquisite and occasionally moving black comedy . . . The acid test - I suspect it would do well even if its author's name weren't J.K. Rowling (David Robinson, Scotsman)

A big, ambitious, brilliant, profane, funny, deeply upsetting and magnificently eloquent novel of contemporary England . . . This is a deeply moving book by somebody who understands both human beings and novels very, very deeply (Lev Grossman, Time Magazine)

Insightful, meaningful, daring and resolutely challenging to tabloid assumptions regarding the moral worth of individuals (Scotland on Sunday)

The action bowls along compellingly, most of the characters are vividly drawn and there are some sharp - often very sharp - observations about their social pretensions . . . a bold and distinctive effort (The Sunday Telegraph)

This is a novel of insight and skill, deftly drawn and, at the end, cleverly pulled together. It plays to her strengths as a storyteller (The Economist)

The Casual Vacancy is a brilliant novel, entertaining, intelligent, moving, passionate and hard-hitting; touching on familiar subjects but approaching them with great originality and skill. Moreover, it's unputdownable . . . The novel is a triumph (Irish Times)

Rowling is a great storyteller with a clear eye and a warm heart, and The Casual Vacancy is a moving and immensely pleasurable novel (Sunday Business Post Ireland)

Wrestles honourably and intelligently with big moral and political questions . . . a study of provincial life, with a large cast and multiple, interlocking plots, drawing inspiration from such writers as Trollope, Gaskell and, perhaps most of all, George Elliot . . . [the plot] is big, engrossing, and runs like clockwork (Guardian)

Rowling weaves a web of connections that resonate long after the book ends (Daily Express)

This is a book with a social conscience . . . Much lurks behind Pagford's idyllic facade (The Times)

Rowling once again shows her skill at laying bare the best and (more often) worst of human nature (Star Magazine)

A perfect holiday read (Best Magazine)

JK's first grown-up novel is an eminently-readable tale of small minds in small-town England (Bella) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The first adult novel by J.K. Rowling --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed. Reviews shown are from other formats of this item.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
157 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Written and Undeniably Thought-Provoking 3 Jan 2013
By George
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My desire to read this book stemmed purely from a love of J.K. Rowling's previous work (You-Know-What, or They-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named). From the off, I knew to expect something different. I'd seen the poster at the books store. It stated categorically that her new book was for adults (funnily enough, this poster was in the children's section). Regardless, I knew that I was going to read whatever she brought out next, having already been impressed by her writing skill. Yes, before I'd even begun reading, I had "baggage"; expectations of a certain standard of story-telling. Once the book was out, I heard a number of bad reviews. I was not put off, and I was not disappointed.

Pagford is a picturesque, parochial town with cobbled streets and quaint little cottages. Just beyond is the council estate, The Fields; a crime-ridden, concrete-crumbling embarrassment to the Pagford old guard. When Councillor Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly, leaving his seat in Pagford Parish Council open - a Casual Vacancy - old grudges break to new grievances. The council are divided by pro-Fielders and those who wish to see Pagford restored to its supposed former glory. It soon becomes clear, as the town's pretty façade begins to crack, that this division will inevitably lead to a disastrous conclusion.

This Dickensian approach, of telling the story of a town, rather than a character, is a marvellous example of just how good an author J.K. Rowling is. She weaves a rich tapestry of characters and situations together in a masterful and undeniably thought-provoking way. This story is told from the different perspectives of a number of complex personalities, young and old. For instance, you'll find yourself casting judgement on an individual; only to have your opinion receded by the next chapter.
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1,732 of 1,813 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Krystal's progress 30 Sep 2012
By Dave TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Oh dear! There seems to so much negativity on this review board that it is difficult to start a positive review without dealing with some of it. I think I will therefore start with some advice as to who shouldn't buy this book, this might save some people some money and also stop this board from filling up with largely unhelpful 1 star reviews.
Don't buy it is you resent paying a tenner. That's how much it costs. It's a new book by a much loved best -selling author and you're reading it within a few days of publication. Get over it.
Don't buy it if you want a roller-coaster fast- moving plot. This is a quietly written character driven novel that requires a bit of patience and thought. It needs its length for the many characters to develop. You can't really comment on it until you've read it right to the end.
Don't expect any magic. This is a starkly realistic novel. I would view this as one of its strengths but if you can't take "warts and all" characterisations of ordinary people and some pretty unsavoury behaviour than stay away.
Don't buy it if you have knee jerk political opinions. Many people seem to see this book as a snobbish and judgemental duffing up of the poor old squeezed middles. This isn't in fact the case, everybody gets a pretty good duffing up but if you believe everything it says in The Daily Mail (or The Guardian for that matter) it might be an idea to stay away :-)
You need to have a bit of patience with the characters. They are not at first sight loveable (any of them) but if you've read the first few chapters and have decided (correctly) that Samantha is a first class bitch and Fats is an appalling little shit then please give them a little more time. Character development is a lot of the point of this book.
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327 of 358 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did Harry Potter go to boarding school? 9 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover
The casual vacancy.
J.K.Rowling

I may be unusual amongst reviewers of J.K.Rowling's latest book in that I have never read a Harry Potter story, not being drawn to the celebration of public schools, nor to fantasy stories of wizards and dragons (nor to Tolkien, Wagner, or model railways, but that's another story).

Here we have a further iteration of the English village novel, but in this version not a celebration of the genre, nor of the people or their manners. It is more a full frontal assault on the complacency, hypocrisy , selfishness, narrow-mindedness and sheer unpleasantness of the great majority of the inhabitants of Pagford, somewhere not far from Bristol. I have to confess that for long parts of this book I asked myself the question 'why bother?' Why does the author bother to skewer these people so relentlessly, what animus drives her to spend so much time and effort revealing their nastiness as if we didn't recognise it already? Settling scores? And if so, do we need to be there?

But, and there is a but, JKR brings forward some characters who are rarely encountered, and insists we notice them. Most notable is Krystal, school age daughter of a drug addict, resident of a 'sink estate' as other people in the village would term it, foul mouthed, sexually promiscuous, and the carer of her 3 year old brother. She is both brave and desperately in need of affection. Krystal is one of a range of teenage characters who JKR is able to present persuasively, as if from the inside.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars after reading some of the reviews that said it was a good read I...
I will be honest and say that I was a bit dubious about reading this book as people I knew who had read it didn't think much of it. Read more
Published 7 hours ago by hifivi
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent storytelling!
This book hooked me in immediately. A tale of small town people and small mindedness, local politics and snobby opinions, a councillor with an ego as big as his vast waistline... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Chick Lit Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Really loved it, took a while to get into then I couldn't out it down. I felt i got to know every character personally!
Published 1 day ago by Zoe
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious in the extreme
500 pages of nothingness unless you like a regular diet of gratuitous obscenities and puerile sexual references. Reading parish council minutes would be more entertaining. Read more
Published 2 days ago by M G Love
3.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't as good as I expected of JK
Wasn't as good as I expected of JK! Took along time to get into it and I had to keep revisiting it to get back into the story...rather disappointed!
Published 3 days ago by D L Palmer
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor
Poor subject, poor characters.
Published 4 days ago by milly
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Sorry but didn't enjoy this at all. No joy in the story. Very dark and depressing. Horses for courses!
Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
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Published 5 days ago by evelyn wright evelyn
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
My husband says he quite liked this book. I haven't yet read it.
Published 5 days ago by GJM
1.0 out of 5 stars Read something else
Although grammatically pleasing, 80% was confusing and just plain dull and the other 20% dark. A long arduous read, because I alway finish books. I hope the TV Series is better. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Mother of four
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