Book Review: The Casual Vacancy

For the first in a new series of book review blog posts (an effort to bone up on the Nerdy up there in the URL ) I decided to review the book I have most recently finished listening to on audio book. This is the format the posts are going to follow. LEt me know what you think and if you have any recommendations for books. I think they’ll be released as I finish books so probably about once a month or so.

The first edition book cover. It is red with a yellow border. In the center is a square made be a thin black line. A thick x is drawn through it looking like it was made of black pen. Above in block letters it reads J.K. Rowling. Below the box and x it reads The Casual Vacancy in cursive.

Title: The Casual Vacancy

Author: JK Rowling

Year Published: 2012

Category: Adult Fiction

*No spoilers*

The Casual Vacancy is a story about an old town with old values and old prejudices. Every disagreement is manageable until the Death of Barry Fairbrother. Tensions mount as the election for Mr. Fairbother’s still-warm seat on the parish council looms near.

Ms. Rowling creates a strong cast of characters each as alike all the other characters as they are different to them. (Don’t bother making any assumptions about them, they’ll nearly always be proven false.) She masterfully orchestrates the complex narrative and has all of the POVs (Points of view) singing in perfect harmony.

This story had me on edge from it’s very dramatic beginning. As the plot thickens to the viscosity of half-set cement you won’t tire of the action. Rather, right as you reach the precipice, Rowling will drag you back to the safety of another POV, leaving the character from before dangling over the edge until you return in some way or another.

To anyone who has grown up or lived in a small town the setting is instantly familiar. It appears idyllic on the outside and is romanticized for being pure and old-fashioned. However,  once on the inside one can see that it is far from prefect. Rivalries and petty disputes and even hatred pockmark the peaceful landscape. That is not say, however, if you’ve never lived in a pastoral village that the setting will seem alien to you. Poliitics is everywhere and people can be catty or kind anywhere.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone. It is addicting, quite hard to put down. It is emotional and will have you deeply invested before you even realize it. It is quite a departure from Harry Potter, but the book does stand on it’s own two feet.

I rate it: 5/5

Goodreads says: 3.25/5

Amazon says: 3/5 (they seem to be very evenly divided between between all five ratings)


Domestic violence, drug use, foul languge, sex descriptions, death


2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Casual Vacancy

  1. I read this book about a year and a half ago and I had difficulty putting it down. It’s hard to explain. I also found myself wondering about characters that weren’t “visible” at the moment I was reading. What was going on with this character, what was going on with that other character, so on and so on….


    • That’s exactly how I felt. I just wanted to know what they were all doing at the same time, even if it makes my head spin. (Sorry how it took to respond. My computer tried to eat your comment!)


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