The Casual Vacancy

by J. K. Rowling

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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.
Contemporary fiction
Publication Date:
Little, Brown Book Group
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Dimensions (mm):

Customer Reviews

Average rating by 6 customers
  • a brilliant read.

    Review by on

    The Casual Vacancy is the first adult novel by popular British author, J.K.Rowling. This contemporary fiction is set in the seemingly idyllic English village of Pagford, where the sudden death of Parish Councillor, Barry Fairbrother creates a casual vacancy on the parish council. As subsequent events are narrated from the points of view of various different characters, the picture emerges of a village whose inhabitants are not all satisfied with their lot in life, a village of simmering tensions waiting to boil over. Rowlings characters are easily recognisable as the denizens of the typical English village, but at the same time, show individual depth and appeal (or repugnance, as the case may be). And it seems quite a few of the characters have a secret (or two). The setting, characters and events will resonate with readers, and these same happenings drive the characters to desperate actions that ultimately result in tragedy for some. Rowling manages to pack quite a lot into this novel: she has an obese megalomaniac, drug addicts, computer-savvy teens, a fawning wife, a violent husband and father, an anxious teacher, and a caring social worker, to name just a few. There is domestic violence, rape, racism, corruption, self-mutilation, bullying, gossip, teen pregnancy, child abuse and SQL injection. But if this sounds depressing, it is relieved by the underlying black humour that fills the novel. This all comes together to make a brilliant read.

  • Midsomer Murders without the murder

    Review by on

    Pagford, pretty village, close knit community, happy families.

    It seems that behind every "perfect" facade people are living lives of misery and discontent.

    The town is divided about the parish council's desire to put out the "trash" that they feel is polluting their township and a whole lot of politics and powertripping is happening around filling a vacant seat on the council.

    In the midst of it all there is the Ghost_Of_Barry creating havoc and exposing the dirty laundry people would really rather stayed hidden. Then there is Krystal.

    An insightful look at class structure in a supposedly class free society and the growing pains of a small town being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

  • The Casual Vacancy

    Review by on

    This book is certainly a must read. If you are the type of person who only reads one book a year - let it be this one.

    I could not put this book down, I was so enthralled by the storyline. With every plot development, every new, unexpected twist, I became more and more hooked.

    I concede, I was a little unsure what to expect when I first purchased this book - having grown up with Harry Potter, I was curious to discover what Rowling could offer the world of adult fiction.

    Well, I certainly wasn't disappointed!

    Rowling's rich writing style; her honest portrayal of a diverse range of characters, and the intricate relationships they share with one another; the way she depicts such varying attitudes, lifestyles and experiences of this small, seemingly picturesque and yet deeply divided town - it all makes for an addictive, emotionally engaging and rewarding read.

    I highly recommend it!

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