After much anticipation, I finally acquired a copy of “The Casual Vacancy” by J. K.Rowling. During my wait, I avoided reading any reviews or comments about the book, as I did not want to have any outside influence cloud my view or spoil my reading. Having read Rowling’s Harry Potter series, I expected to get lost in the story and to meet and connect to new characters. However, that was not the case. This is not to say that the book was not good, rather it was not what I expected.
I would not label it as an epic novel, per-say. Instead, I would label this book more as a social/political view of a small community, which falls into social and political chaos after the sudden death of Councillor Barry Fairbrother. At first, it is difficult to keep the characters in the story straight as to who’s who. In fact, I was tempted to make a list of the characters with notes as to how each relates to the other. As well, I found it difficult to connect to the characters as I would in most novels, as there is no real individual background story told for any of them. All of the characters are depicted within the context of a short time period, beginning with the death of Barry Fairbrother and ending with the election of a new Councillor. However, that is not to say that the characters are not brutally realistic in their actions and the outcomes of their actions.
Overall, this book is an intelligent, artful, creative, and sometimes comical read. I would expect to see it listed academically as assigned reading, particularly in a class dealing with the Social Sciences. Now that I have read the novel once through, I know what to expect. It is worth reading, and worth reading again.
Thanks for stopping by. ~Yvonne~