The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

Little Brown Group

September 27, 2012

503 pages

4 out of 5 stars

If you’re thinking of reading this book, I urge you to read the blurb once more and prepare yourself for what its about. Although it has been well publicised, The Casual Vacancy is a book written for adults and it could not be further from Harry Potter and the world of Hogwarts if it tried.

In fact, The Casual Vacancy is a bleak and rather honest, dark and gritty look at society in all its forms. Its a book talking about the subtle strengths and ultimate failures of the human spirit and condition and the way we rely on society in a way to justify our own existences and positions of success, wealth and happiness. This novel does not hold back in its cross-section of society, especially smaller societies/towns. And although the beginning of the book was hard to get in to – there is just so many characters and subplots that it is harder to follow along initially – it is most definitely worth a read. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. In the course of the three days it took me to read this book, the book rarely left my side. I took it everywhere; eager to read more and see what Rowling was going to do next.

As mentioned above, there is a large amount of characters in this book, all compromising smaller subplots for a large percentage of the book, who interact with each other, and the story at large, in the manner that small towns are usually personified as being. And while at first I found this rather daunting and was worried that Rowling would not be able to effectively pull the novel off, I was pleasantly surprised to find each and every subplot dealt adequately with and merged with one another to not only create the society that book represents, but tie the book up into the only fitting end possible.

The Casual Vacancy doesn’t hold back in its look at the more grittier and dirtier aspects of not only small societies, but what it means to be human and our social interactions. It is often in your face, and kind of disturbing in places, but overall well worth a read.

This review was originally posted on Goodreads on October 1, 2012 and although slight spelling changes have been made the review can still be found here:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/423035859

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