Roxanne Barbour’s Reviews > The Casual Vacancy
by J.K. Rowling
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?
I was curious to see J.K. Rowling’s attempt at a non-Harry Potter novel. For the most part, I was not disappointed.
The plot is generally well-paced, although I thought it stagnated at “Olden Days”. I understand the need for background but there was too much at this point in the novel.
The characters were well-thought-out, however, unlikable. Surely, someone must be happy in the town of Pagford?
The novel is well-edited, but I would expect no less.
J.K. Rowling has adopted the habit, for this novel, of using brackets to introduce material. This is most disconcerting from a reader (albiet author/editor) point of view. Finding the first (opening) bracket on one page, and the ending bracket on a subsequent page, gave the editor in me a nervous breakdown. I spent far too much time looking for the ending bracket–it distracted from my reading pleasure.
The one word I would use to describe this novel is “Tawdry”; that is, the characters and situations.
I look forward to J.K. Rowling’s next novel. Hopefully, it will have a much more upbeat feel.