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Customer Review

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Village versus Estate, 3 April 2013
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This review is from: The Casual Vacancy (Hardcover)
First thing to be said, it's a good read. For me it's a sort of darker Jilly Cooper with its middle England setting in a village where the middle classes look down on the chav classes. And it is chav classes here, definitely not the working class.

There is a strong theme of what choices the underprivileged have or don't have. Krystal Weedon has the potential to be one to "get herself out" of the council estate (or social housing as the current phrase has it) we see that she has the support of the well-meaning middles and she has some winning personality traits. However, without the support of Barry Fairbrother, another one that got out, she has no one with whom to identify. She falls back on the urban clichés of casual sex and pregnancy as a means of escape.

There is also a significant theme of what choices the middle classes have or don't have. Each class in entrenched in a set of beliefs about society which have become calcified and need breaking apart. Barry was trying to build a bridge between the estate and village folk and his death shows how fragile such initiatives can be.

It is a sad reflection on modern mores, as is the whole book. It couldn't be said to present many characters with redeeming features. They are all believable and the reader becomes enmeshed in the complications of life in Pagford, but the novel exposes so many of the sad realities of life which we take for granted and which so often make the headlines.

I don't this book will bring about a revolution in the way British society organises itself, but it will cause the reader to reflect on how much unpleasantness needs dealing with. Most readers will come down on one side or other of the arguments, mainly with the middle classes I would think, if I judge Rowling's readership aright.

It's a book worth a look. It isn't a timeless piece of literature, merely another popular read.
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Location: Dewsbury, West Yorkshire United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,261