The Casual Vacancy
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The Casual Vacancy

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  130,775 ratings  ·  21,108 reviews

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), 505 pages
Published September 27th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company
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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
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...more
Nina ♥
Aug 21, 2013 Nina ♥ is currently reading it
(view spoiler)...more
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 descri...more

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...more
WOAH. Why didn't I know about this before? Rowling is writing another book?!

Oh my Rowling.

Like this...


Then this... (ahem...)


Then this...

And then this...


Then this...


This is incredible, considering I'm still experiencing PTPD. (Post Traumatic Potter Disorder). *stuffs her face with chocolate frogs* BUT! Listen, people. I'm not extrememely 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...more
Steph Sinclair
Sep 27, 2012 Steph Sinclair 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
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...more
Aug 06, 2013 Sam marked it as on-hold
Shelves: did-not-finish
Read up to page 51.

I hate to admit it, but there was one (and only one) reason that I had even considered reading this book.

J.K. Rowling had written it.

Had anyone else presented me with a story about a small English town rocked by the death of a councillor named Barry Fairbrother, I'm pretty certain that I wouldn't have shown even the slightest bit of interest. This is not, in any shape or form, a premise that works for me. Had it been any other book, I should have (would have) stopped right t...more
Nilesh Kashyap
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 Ba...more

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
Update 7/3/2012: Well... I can't lie. That is one seriously disappointing cover.

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

Enough said.
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.
Oct 04, 2012 Hannah 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
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
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
Ta§chima Cullen
Jul 03, 2012 Ta§chima Cullen 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
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
Megan Baxter
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
Janne Varvára
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
Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish)
No title, no synopsis, no publication date, and yet I'm still all:

Edit 4/12/12: Apparently, there's a title and description now!

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 Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3* of five

The Book Description: 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 war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soo...more
Raeleen Lemay
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
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
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
‘Umbrella’: Written by Terius Nash, Christopher ‘Tricky’ Stewart, Shawn Carter and Thaddis Harrell © 2007 by 2082 Music Publishing (ASCAP)/Songs of Peer, Ltd. (ASCAP)/March Ninth Music Publishing (ASCAP)/Carter Boys Music (ASCAP)/EMI Music Publishing Ltd (PRS)/Sony/ATV Music Publishing (PRS). All rights on behalf of WB Music Corp. and 2082 Music Publishing Administered by Warner/Chappell North America Ltd. All Rights on behalf of March Ninth Music Publishing Controlled and Administered by Son
I have never wanted something more in my life.
February, 23th 2012: I'm totally going to read this, even though it is about a cat learning to fly or a slug eating leaves (even though I'm sure it won't).
If J.K. Rowling writes it, it will be a great book.

April, 12th 2012: WE HAVE ITS NAME!
That's great, right?

November, 1st 2012: (edited 10/08/2013) Okay hmm this book was clearly not what I was expecting.
It was greatly written as usual, and I did like it, but really, when they said this was for adults I wouldn't have...more
Sep 11, 2012 Pepper marked it as to-read
Uh, hi, I think I might read this when no one is reading it, so that I can read it without thinking, "Oh, I'm reading a JKR book! Her writing is perfect! OH THIS IS NOT HARRY POTTER!"
I have a feeling I'm going to be biased, because I've always liked Rowling, so I think it's best to wait when not everyone is reading this book, and I don't feel any pressure... and when I can think it's just an ordinary book by whatever author...


Does anyone understand what I'm trying...more
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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 chose K as the second initial...more
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“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.” 284 likes
“It was strange how your brain could know what your heart refused to accept.” 258 likes
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