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The Casual Vacancy [Hardcover]

J. K. Rowling
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,103 customer reviews)
RRP: £20.00
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Book Description

27 Sep 2012

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.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; First Edition edition (27 Sep 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 140870420X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408704202
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 16.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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)

Book Description

The first adult novel by J.K. Rowling

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
162 of 168 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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1,735 of 1,816 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
1.0 out of 5 stars It was too many characters and not a particularly good storyline.
I don't know how anyone could rave about this book. It was too many characters and not a particularly good storyline.
Published 10 hours ago by Susan Glover
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it
good book
Published 1 day ago by ROBERT MILLAR
1.0 out of 5 stars I hate it
Boring
Published 1 day ago by Terry Roeves
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't like it
Very hard to read. Not on my wavelength at all. Don't expect I shall finish it. Can't be bothered!
Published 1 day ago by Glorybird
5.0 out of 5 stars A total treat
Totally brilliant. Never read the Harry Potter series, just not my kind of thing but this book was recommended by someone who knows what. I like and .......I loved it. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Eloise Worcester
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Took me a while too read def not Harry potter
Published 2 days ago by Jane Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
A sensiitive story. Reminding us that the influence of one person can have an immense knock on effect. JK Rowling's transition from children's to adult writting is seamless.
Published 2 days ago by Deborah Stevenson
2.0 out of 5 stars noone past the age of 14 really speaks like that.
An original storyline, but stylistically clumsy. It seems 'Harry Potter' curbed Rowling's desire to swear, so it all came out in this novel in an effusive splurge of... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Mrs E. Anderson
2.0 out of 5 stars dissapointing novel
could not like the main characters and too much bad language for my taste.
Published 3 days ago by mary campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Loved it . . . . . . Z x z z z z z z. Z x d v
Published 3 days ago by Its_AmyB
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