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The Casual Vacancy

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  268,609 Ratings  ·  29,596 Reviews
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A BIG NOVEL ABOUT A SMALL TOWN ...

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 façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at
...more
Hardcover, First Edition (US), 503 pages
Published September 27th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company
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Amani Bey around the 300th page it picks up and moves fast. I was the same way. Rowling does a lot of character development and little plot development, but…morearound the 300th page it picks up and moves fast. I was the same way. Rowling does a lot of character development and little plot development, but when the plot finally unfolds, it is all worth it. The way she grasps human nature... Ahh. It's really worth it, but it does seem slow as hell (less)
Bev Tolley Favourite character is for some reason Tessa Wall. She always puts others before herself, even when she needed help and attention from her husband.…moreFavourite character is for some reason Tessa Wall. She always puts others before herself, even when she needed help and attention from her husband. She's in horrible situation between her warring adopted son and husband and I believe she copes marvelously.
Least favourite character would probably be Simon Price. He abuses both his wife and children and that to me is unforgivable.(less)

Community Reviews

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Nataliya
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
J.K.Rowling gave a whole generation of kids an amazing fantasy to dream about (*).

Then she wrote this book that has many of the same elements, only without the safe haven of magic (**). Basically, this is a real world where a strange man showing up at your family's doorstep at night is less likely to be a magical school groundskeeper but more likely your family's drug dealer who, by the way, may not be adverse to beating and raping you for good measure.(***)

It's the world left for Dudley Dursl
...more
Mith
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
How (not) to read The Casual Vacancy :

1. DON'T read it just because it's written by JK Rowling.
2. DON'T expect it to be like Harry Potter - i.e, magic stuff. (Read the blurb, nimrod)
3. DON'T expect a murder mystery - it isn't one.
4. DON'T read it if you are not comfortable with the fact that the woman who might have moulded your childhood, is writing about drugs, teen sex, prostitution, rape etc. - this book isn't for you.
5. DON'T compare this with her previous works, for the love of God!

When it
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Nina ♥
Feb 24, 2012 is currently reading it
(view spoiler) ...more
Stephen King
Not since Peyton Place has a writer so enthusiastically stripped the lace covers from small-town life to show the maggots of greed, lust, snobbery, and ambition squirming beneath—only Grace Metalious didn’t have Jo Rowling’s wicked sense of humor. The village of Pagford may be British, but the human foibles there are universal. Like the best social comedies, The Casual Vacancy features wit on top and outrage simmering below.
Krys


The Casual Vacancy = Mind Blowing.

There is a quote in J.K. Rowling's newly released book, The Casual Vacancy, that sums up the tone of this novel perfectly.


"The mistake ninety-nine percent of humanity made, as far as Fats could see, was being ashamed of what they were, lying about it, trying to be somebody else. Honesty was Fats' currency, his weapon and defense. It frightened people when you were honest; it shocked them. Other people, Fats had discovered, were mired in embarrassment and preten
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manda
28 Sept. '12
I have to start by saying, that if you're expecting a (murder-)mystery novel; a plot submerged in conspiracies and political maneuverings, you will be sorely disappointed. If you're hoping to be transported to another magical adventure, you'll receive an even greater plummet back down to earth.

Look. If you're going to read this just because it has JK Rowling's name splattered on there, I strongly advise you to sit back, take a look at your computer screen, and read that book descr
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Jon
Feb 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
Find more of my controversial reviews at Scott Reads It

After rereading my review of The Casual Vacancy I realized it sounded sloppy and very unprofessional. I decided to edit my entire review and start from scratch.

I had such high expectations for The Casual Vacancy and I was extremely letdown. I'll admit that the only reason that I read this book is because I adore J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series. I was so excited to read a new J.K. Rowling book that I didn't care that The Casual Vaca
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Haleema
Apr 12, 2012 marked it as to-read
Listen, people. I'm not extremely excited for this book because it's not fantasy. And I don't mean Harry Potter's continuation. Please, as much as I loved HP, I don't need to read about his kids because I cannot get myself to give a damn. The end is the end. I can't see how she can continue that series.

Rowling has said that this book is completely different from what HP had given us. It's dark, dreary, a bit personal, and is solely for adults. And even though I love, love, love HP, I didn't preo
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Steph Sinclair
Feb 23, 2012 marked it as to-read

EDIT #2: I'll probably still give this a go out of curiosity. And because I do love our Queen J.K.

EDIT: I am extremely disappointed in that cover. *cringe* It screams "no effort." I was excited, but after reading the synopsis and seeing the cover, not so much.


Words can't express how excited I am about this book!

Oh, yeah and the Dark Lord approves too.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Nilesh Kashyap
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
6.11 A casual vacancy is deemed to have occurred:
(a) when a local councillor fails to make his declaration of acceptance of office within the proper time; or
(b) when his notice of resignation is received; or
(c) on the day of his death …
Charles Arnold-Baker
Local Council Administration,
Seventh Edition


Barry Fairbrother, local councillor of Pagford lay dead on the ground in pool of his own vomit. His death creates a situation called ' casual vacancy '. A lot of people of people are willing to fill B
...more
Mohammed Arabey
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Arabic/English Review
رواية رولينج الأولي للبالغين ، دراما كبيرة عن مدينة صغيرة


الرواية دي عشان تستمتع بيها لازم متحاولش مقارنتها بـ"هاري بوتر"، ده أصلا سبب أغلب تقييماتها الضعيفة
وبعدين مش معقول نقارن سلسلة بدأت بالفتي الذي عاش، برواية تبدأ بالرجل الذي مات

ولكن هل هذا يعني أنها رواية بلا سحر، حب، جمال أو شجاعة؟
بالعكس..الرواية ساحرة، لكن بسحر الواقع شديد القبح، بها نفس الحب والخير لكنه مدفون في اعماق الشخصيات، مغطي بالانشغال والسعي وراء "الكرسي" المنصب

"المنصـــب الشـــاغـر"

دراما شخصيات ومصالح متضارب
...more
Anachronist
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Synopsis:

When Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly of aneurism in his early forties, leaving his family and a lot of unfinished issues behind, the town of Pagford is in shock. He was a well-known councilor and a coach of the local female rowing team. He was also a man with a mission. Who will fill his shoes? Will his death benefit his allies or his enemies?
Surprisingly there are more than one or two token candidates. Pagford, seemingly an English sleepy town like many others, with a cobbled market sq
...more
Issy
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is utterly heartbreaking, but real, gritty, and slightly sickening.

I had no idea what this novel was going to be about when I bought it yesterday. Being 17, I have grown up living and breathing Harry Potter. It is correct to assume that this novel is an utter contrast to the Harry Potter series. But I think it is a most naive error to try to compare the two works. It goes to JK Rowlings credit that she can produce such varied pieces, and write them so well!

I love this novel. I find th
...more
Jayson
(A-) 81% | Very Good
Notes: Its eager vulgarity is akin to Disney actresses trying to shed good-girl reputations by over-correcting their next roles.
Bonnie
Feb 24, 2012 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Update 7/3/2012: Well... I can't lie. That is one seriously disappointing cover.

A 2012 release date?!?!?!? SO EXCITED.



Enough said.
Gemma
Apr 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
The Casual Vacancy is Rowling deciding in her junior year of high school that she doesn't want to be the quiet good girl anymore, so she goes out and dyes her hair some shade of neon and starts dressing all in black and listening to screamo and leaves her debate club and choir friends for the poetic crowd. She gets a few piercings and smokes about two cigarettes, and her parents are worried, but they don't need to be. It's all experimental, part of her development as a person, her learning who s ...more
Mansuriah Hassan
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My desire to read this book stemmed purely from a love of J.K. Rowling's previous work (You-Know-What). I knew to expect something different as it was stated categorically that her new book was for adults. Once the book was out, I heard a number of bad reviews. However I was not disappointed with this book. I can understand the responses because of the theme and some of the scenes are gritty with some unpleasantness, very real-life and honest.

In The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling has made a suc
...more
Hannah
Oct 04, 2012 marked it as did-not-finish
I didn't have any giddy expectations for Rowling's first foray into the world of adult fiction, but will admit to being curious as to how she would approach it. Now with 64 pages under my belt, my personal verdict is in: Did not Finish.

It's not a badly written book, but what little I read I found dull and pedestrian, which surprised me more then anything given Rowling's richly imaginative mind. In addition, the crude language seemed more forced then natural, almost as if Rowling needed to drive
...more
Arah-Lynda
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top, i-said
First off, a confession, I was predisposed to not so much like this book. I had read many positive reviews yes; even so, positive or negative, they all shared a common theme. That is to say lack of plot. And I’m here to tell you, it’s all true, although it is not so much a lack as an absence.

This is character development at its finest and even Pagford the community, comes forward in that undertaking. As much a character as say Howard, and despite our narrow view of Pagford’s people, we walk awa
...more
Raeleen Lemay
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, adult-fiction
*4.5*
I went into this book expecting to hate it, and I'll admit, it started off pretty slow. However, as the story progressed, each character grew more and more, and I became emotionally attached to a couple of them, Krystal Weedon in particular. This is one of those books that I know I'll fully enjoy the second time I read it, since now I know all the characters it'll be much easier to follow. Overall, amazing book.

I also get sad whenever I listen to Umbrella now, which I keep doing for some re
...more
Jane
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: my local library.

It took me a while to decide to read this book; I had really enjoyed the Harry Potter books but would not go so far as to call myself a fan of JK Rowling, and why would I be interested in her as an adult-novel writer anyway? I'd seen a fair amount of negativity on reader loops; people didn't like the swearing, the book was too different from Harry Potter, there were too many characters so the story was confusing, etc. And then when this novel won the Goodre
...more
Richard Derus
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
***UPDATE APRIL 2014: A BBC/HBO co-production of this book will start filming this summer, and will air in 2015 (most likely). An interesting video talk by Rowling about this book. 35 minutes.

Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: 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 façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at
...more
Kara
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gritty, realistic, layered portrait of a small town in crisis. In the fallout of parish councillor Barry Fairbrother's death, the stories of a diverse cast of unhappy people are woven together: some likeable, most not. The upcoming election for Barry's empty council seat fuels a sea of pettiness, gossip, and self-interest, and long-simmering resentments come to a head.

Let me start off by mentioning, as everyone else has, that this is not Harry Potter. Muggles only. In addition to the conspicuou
...more
J.V. Seem
Sep 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc-novels
I admit it! I gave up! I've read 20% of this book, and I left it at that. Here's why:

The reason we're all reading this book is because it says "J.K. Rowling" on the cover. Associations: Spellbinding plots, humour, strange characters, action, excitement, magic...
I'm reading it because it's written by J.K. Rowling. And because it's by her, I can't believe I gave up.
I feel bad comparing it to Harry Potter, because it's a totally different novel. It's realistic, and set among ordinary people in a sm
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my review at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

The Casual Vacancy has been rated by nearly a quarter of a million Goodreaders and (in case you can’t tell by the 3.27 rating) a good chunk of them weren’t terribly impressed. Although I’ve already trolled my nemesis pal Ron 2.0 about reading this wrong, I’m not entirely convinced he did this time around. I’m also not going to try to convince any of you to read it. I’m fairly certain J.K. Rowling won’t have to resort to prostitution for
...more
Megan Baxter
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was startled by how much I liked this book. I tried to go into it without expectation, without expecting it to be good or terrible, or like Harry Potter, or anything. But it grabbed me almost immediately and didn't let go.

There is, of course, very little in common with Harry Potter. But that doesn't mean there is nothing in common.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the
...more
Barry Pierce
I really liked this. I knew I would. The plot seemed long and boring, two things that I love in books. Rowling is clearly a master storyteller, it's evident in this novel. The plot was really captivating, I honestly could not stop reading. The novel overall reminded me of Hardy, you get this overview of a town and its large cast of characters. Obviously this isn't anywhere near the brilliance of Hardy but it echoes him well.

The problems that I had with this was that, at the beginning I felt tha
...more
Bobbie
Sep 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think J K Rowling is a brilliant writer and I would have bought this book if it were $117.99 and written in pencil on toilet paper. It is distressing that readers punish the author for the greed of the publishers. I had no idea what to expect and for some reason I was thinking Agatha Christie or PD James. Truth is, it was more like Salinger or Vonnegut, harsh realism and depressing insight into human weaknesses. The book is gritty, dark, humorous, and too believable. The characters are real, f ...more
Regina
Check out this review and others like it at BadAssBookReviews

Casual Vacancy is a beautifully written work of art. Nothing has been missed in the story. No storyline was neglected. Every character and every scene is perfectly orchestrated to completion. Reading Casual Vacancy is like eating that perfect meal. It starts off with an explosion of flavor, akin to a beautifully prepared appetizer and from there Rowling guides the reader through a perfectly told story that is nicely sustained. A good
...more
Taschima
Feb 23, 2012 marked it as to-read
The cover is out... When I first laid eyes on it I just couldn't breathe. Is this what the world has come to? Let me go on a rant here.

1.It is plain.

2.What's with those colors?! It's like, yellow, and that weird peach that borders on reddish... It makes my eyes want to drink heavily and then jump off a building just to see which hurts more, the dying or looking at this cover for more than a second.

3.We have come a long way in book covers, this looks like a cover of a book made in the 70s. The co
...more
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184,010 followers
See also: Robert Galbraith
Although she writes under the pen name J.K. Rowling, pronounced like rolling, her name when her first Harry Potter book was published was simply Joanne Rowling. Anticipating that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, her publishers demanded that she use two initials, rather than her full name. As she had no middle name, she ch
...more
More about J.K. Rowling
“You must accept the reality of other people. You think that reality is up for negotiation, that we think it's whatever you say it is. You must accept that we are as real as you are; you must accept that you are not God.” 411 likes
“It was strange how your brain could know what your heart refused to accept.” 380 likes
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