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The Casual Vacancy | [J. K. Rowling]

The Casual Vacancy

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early 40s, 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for: UK Author of the year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early 40s, 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?

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

©2012 J.K. Rowling (P)2012 Hachette Digital

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (1258 )
5 star
 (473)
4 star
 (358)
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 (221)
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Overall
3.9 (692 )
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Story
4.2 (690 )
5 star
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4 star
 (215)
3 star
 (79)
2 star
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 (20)
Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 05/10/2012 Listener Since 2006

    i did

    HELPFUL VOTES
    232
    ratings
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    102
    54
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    "Stick with it"

    Like some of the longer Harry Potter books, I found this a bit ponderous at first. But the characters, humour and the fantastic way J K Rowling has of drawing things together made for a final 3rd as addicting as any of her previous work. I greatly enjoyed Tom Hollanders reading and accents too. So stick with it if the first downloadable chunk doesn't grab you. I was very glad I did, this is the best book I have listened to this year.

    I was sad to hear that some quarters of the Sikh community have been critical of the portrayal of one of the teenage characters. The same advice applies here too, stick with it - I think the treatment of Sikhism is actually very positive.

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer United Kingdom 04/10/2012
    Amazon Customer United Kingdom 04/10/2012 Member Since 2014

    carray

    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    "'The book to listen to'."

    A five star book with a 10 star narrator, well done Tom Hollander, you made a great book even better.

    I have read so many reviews and as usual they are very mixed, all I can add as both a parent and a 'foster carer' this book is so true to life it will hopefully open peoples eyes to the reality of life for so many kids whatever class or creed they come from. We neglect our children at our peril, thank you

    for pointing this out to the vast majority that hide their heads in the sand.

    This book will be around for a long time to come.

    20 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shon-EL romford, United Kingdom 03/10/2012
    Shon-EL romford, United Kingdom 03/10/2012 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    4
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    "Amazing! Is this what a muggle town is like then?"

    I was intrigued all the way through by both the writer and the reader. Totally amazing story-line, so believable and precise. Anyone who rejects this book obviously knows nothing about real life. its wonderful to see that Ms Rowling can switch her imagination so far across the border to design a book with so many real life issues too!

    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Athula Abingdon, United Kingdom 01/10/2012
    Athula Abingdon, United Kingdom 01/10/2012 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
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    2
    2
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    "Fantastic Read!"

    I don't probably have to comment on the mastery of the undisputed "Queen" of fiction's ability. This is undoubtedly a masterpiece. But, here, my comment is on the narration and the narrator. Tom Hollander is just the icing on the cake crafted by Rowling. His reading is wonderful, a la-carte, music to the ears. I hope all narrators use this as a "classroom" lesson on narration. I am glad Audible has added this to their collection (I am sure they would not have missed). For the first time I felt listening to the book is better! Highly recommend. Although I must say, I did not see the point in so much swearing, was it a necessity or somebody out there was trying to prove a point?

    29 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Marks Sheffield, UK 18/10/2012
    Paul Marks Sheffield, UK 18/10/2012 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    2
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    "It was ok"

    If you read anything by JK, just because she wrote it, then I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I don't regret listening to it, but I wouldn't listen twice. It was ok, but from her, I would have hoped for better.

    (It's most definitely NOT for kids)

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audible London, United Kingdom 13/12/2012
    Audible London, United Kingdom 13/12/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    2
    2
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    "Mixed feelings for a book with high expectations"

    A Review by the Audible Staff Book Club:
    About the book:

    The Casual Vacancy really got us talking, we were expecting a lot from Rowling, and had mixed opinions about the results. Set in a small town, peopled with a large cast of not-terribly-likeable characters, we thought the world she created was detailed but unforgiving. Unlike Harry Potter, where her world could be fantastical and wonder-ful, Pagford was realistic, almost brutally so. We all agreed that while JK Rowling is a good prose writer, the size of the cast, though interesting individually, made the thread of the story a bit difficult to follow in audio. As she was so detailed about painting the picture of the individual lives in this small town, we felt like the action dragged somewhat, and all felt like it was a long slog. Rowling’s observations were brilliant, we agreed that she can hit the spot with a poignant one-liner, but overall we felt the book itself - if not by Rowling - would be deemed by many more as mid-tier – nothing extra special or out of the ordinary.

    Narrator:

    All of us were initially surprised that the narrator was male, though we discussed whether he was chosen as the voice of Barry Fairbrother… Our general opinion of Tom Hollander was that he did a good job, especially as we felt the characters as written were a little caricatured. He did not fall into the trap of performing stereotypes, especially in regards to female characters - always difficult for the opposite sex to strike the right balance. If we were able to rate separately for narrator, he would have got 4 stars.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    h London, United Kingdom 14/10/2012
    h London, United Kingdom 14/10/2012 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    6
    5
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    0
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    Overall
    "Brilliant."

    A fantastic story with wonderful characters. I finished it last night and now I miss Pagford.

    I love the multiple perspectives we get from all the interrelated characters. In this respect it reminds me a little bit of Irving Welsh novels, but it is not as brutal.



    Tom Hollander is the very best narrator I've listened to. More from him please!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miss L V Bennett 10/10/2012 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Excellent!"

    I really enjoyed this book, it is incredibly well written, so much so i decided to write a quick review. Living in Somerset I totally identified with the community dynamics and how the characters operate. The character's are very real, tender, tough, sometimes hideous and always true. The issues are vital and really matter and are explained in a very touching and humourous way. This is a very entertaining, well plotted and important book. I recommend it to anyone who likes reading about people. Oh and Tom Hollander does a great job of bringing it to life.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Athula Abingdon, United Kingdom 01/10/2012
    Athula Abingdon, United Kingdom 01/10/2012 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Fantastic Read!"

    I don't probably have to comment on the mastery of the undisputed "Queen" of fiction's ability. This is undoubtedly a masterpiece. But, here, my comment is on the narration and the narrator. Tom Hollander is just the icing on the cake crafted by Rowling. His reading is wonderful, a la-carte, music to the ears. I hope all narrators use this as a "classroom" lesson on narration. I am glad Audible has added this to their collection (I am sure they would not have missed). For the first time I felt listening to the book is better! Highly recommend. Although I must say, I did not see the point in so much swearing, was it a necessity or somebody out there was trying to prove a point?

    19 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs. D. E. Wallace London, England 11/02/2015
    Mrs. D. E. Wallace London, England 11/02/2015 Member Since 2014

    denise.wallace

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Couldn't finish it.."

    Persevered but failed to finish. Brilliantly read but the story was just too slow and lacklustre. However Galbraith I love.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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