I admit that I wanted to read this book because it was written by J.K. Rowling. I continue to believe that Ms. Rowling is a brilliant writer and wasn´...moreI admit that I wanted to read this book because it was written by J.K. Rowling. I continue to believe that Ms. Rowling is a brilliant writer and wasn´t disappointed with her first effort at an adult novel.
The story begins with the death of Barry Fairbrother, a parish councilman in an idyllic English village named Pagford. His untimely death creates a casual vacancy for the council seat he holds and the reaction to this news sets the story in motion. Each of the characters tries to take advantage of the vacancy to serve their own purposes to gain the political power that goes with the councilman position. Never mind that a decent human being has died, the villagers only consideration is what will benefit each of them.
As Ms. Rowling tells the story of various village residents, she covers several themes that provide the backdrop for the tragedies that unfold. (SPOILER) Some of the themes include child abuse, drug addiction, rape, teen-age sex, deception, lying, spitefulness, etc. There are enough themes to keep the story moving along to fill the entire 503 pages. This brings me to some of the disappointments that I had with the book. For one thing the book is long and is tedious in some spots. Ms. Rowling is a master at character development but there are so many characters that it is hard to keep them straight. There is colorful language that is used that at times looks like it is just tossed in for no apparent reason. Finally, the story is told from many characters points of view that is hard to follow at times with very few likable characters. That being said, Ms. Rowling does a brilliant job of bringing together all the subplots in the book so there is a satisfying conclusion to the story. (less)
John Nettles describes what it is like to become famous after success as a stage actor and later the star of Bergerac, a British dective series. Since...moreJohn Nettles describes what it is like to become famous after success as a stage actor and later the star of Bergerac, a British dective series. Since I am a huge fan of Midsomer Murders I had to track down this book. I wasn´t disappointed in this hilarious recounting of his early experiences prior to MM. I classified this book as a memoir giving Mr. Nettles the benefit of the doubt that all the experiences he relates are true. I found this book in a hardcover edition through an online bookstore so good luck to those of you who would like to obtain a copy. It is worth the effort to hunt it down.(less)