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The Casual Vacancy | Hardback

Released on 27 September 2012

Author: J.K. Rowling | Format: Hardback

3.0 out of 5 (4 customer reviews) | Write a review

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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.

The Casual Vacancy Q and A

"The Casual Vacancy" is radically different from Harry Potter. What made you want to write it?

I had the idea on a plane this time- not on a train- and was immediately very excited by it. It is another novel about morality and mortality, as Harry Potter was, but contemporary. It's set in a small community, which involves writing characters who are adolescents all the way up to people in their sixties. I love nineteenth century novels that centre on a town or village. This is my attempt to do a modern version.

Why is it called "The Casual Vacancy"? Were there other possible titles?

The working title was 'Responsible', because a central theme is how much responsibility each of us has for where we are in life - our happiness, our health and our wealth - and also the responsibility we have towards other people - our partners, our children and wider society. However, when I came across the phrase 'a casual vacancy', which is the correct term for a seat left empty on a council by the death of one of its members, I knew at once that I had my new title. The title speaks to me on many different levels. First of all, it seemed to me that the greatest casual vacancy is death itself, which often arrives with no fanfare and creates unfillable vacuums. I was also aware that all of my characters have lacks and deficiencies in their lives that they are attempting to fill in a variety of ways: with food, drink, drugs, fantasies or rebellious behaviour. These, too, could be called 'casual vacancies': those little emptiness's that we are perhaps not entirely conscious that we possess and yet we still feel the need to assuage.

The novel has been described as blackly comic? Can you tell us a little more about the humour in the book?

The humour's rather dark. I wouldn't have described it as a black comedy, personally. Perhaps a comic tragedy!

Do you think it's a particularly British novel? How much is it specifically about Britain today and how much does it contain universal themes?

While the setting and characters are, I think, quintessentially English, I am dealing with universal themes. My social issues are relevant anywhere: family and marital conflict, the tensions between parents and their children, the ideological conflict between an emphasis on self-reliance and state provided support.

customer Reviews

 Average rating (4 reviews)

 Suprising yet good

| | See all nictravo09's reviews (1)

This is compltely different to the harry potter books, but is also good. im only about 50 pages through but im enjoying it already and think that everyone should atleast give it a go. however this book is not suitable for younger readers who enjoyed harry potter due to the language and sexual refrences.

 buy it!

| | See all PixieWarrior's reviews (6)

Just finished this book and really enjoyed it.

I feel people have been out to knock this book before it came out without giving it a chance. Even though i am on the opposite side of the political scale to rowling it has still made me think twice about certain situations and you can always pick out your own and other peoples traits and faults in characters in this book. Her description of characters and life is so in touch with the current times even if people don't want to admit it.

 The Vacancy by JK Rowling was depressing

| | See all seventiesgirl's reviews (1)

I recently bought The Vacancy to take away on holiday. Never having read any of the Harry Potter books, I knew that The Vacancy would be well written and it was. The characters were very well drawn and utterly believeable. I also thought that the book would have a happy ending, all the characters 'getting what they deserved' but it was not to be. I was utterly shocked and disappointed and quite frankly, saddened at the ending. Don't read this book if you like happy endings!!


| | See all kellyshep's reviews (1)

Dont not read, I couldnt read it any more as it was so boring. First few chapters do nothing but describe a boring old town and a man who died. I wish I had never paid 14 pounds for it! Such a disapointment after Harry Potter!!

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AuthorJ.K. Rowling
PublisherLittle Brown and Company (United Kingdom)
FormatHardback - 480 Pages