Book review: The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy - J.K.Rowling

Well, I finally got round to reading this! To be honest, I wasn't really intending to. The only reason I read it all was because it was inside my cat box from O2. But I can't have a book in my house and not read it! Truthfully, I wasn't expecting great things. Although I am possibly one of the biggest Harry Potter fans you'll ever meet, I've never really consider Rowling a great author. A fantastic storyteller, yes, but not the most talented writer. 
The Casual Vacancy is, on the surface, a story about the politics of a small village council when one councillor suddenly dies, leaving his seat free for elections. As Pagford villagers with opposing views on local issues fight for a place on the council, the lives of their families unwind. Their lives are so intricate and interwoven, that we end up with a whole series of sub-plots: Teenagers fighting feelings of loss and depression, wives frustrated with their insular village lives, men struggling with their feelings of anger, panic and unrequited love.  

I loved this book. The thing that has always struck me as Rowling's strength is her ability to develop complex webs of character relations and I find this really interesting. For some, it might have been too complex- there are 19 main characters and a bunch of further supplementary characters- but I managed to follow the interrelations, plots and sub-plots of each one. I came to feel a real bond with a number of the characters, from Samantha Mollison- the bored wife who is frustrated with her husband turning into his father to promiscuous teenager Krystal Weedon, struggling with caring for her baby brother in the council house belonging to their heroin-addicted mother. As the stories were revealed, I wanted to read faster and faster, practically inhaling the stories of the Pagford residents. 
The ending took me by surprise. I was sobbing into my pillow in a way that I don't think I've cried over a book before. I was so sucked into the story that I really felt like I was a localler who knew the characters. J.K.Rowling, your storytelling skills know no bounds! 


  1. I really enjoyed this book, not really what I'd normally go for but I loved it all the same.

    Water Painted Dreams

  2. My mom got this book from a local book club and gave it to me to read. I wasn't expecting anything great either, but after the first page and after another (and another and another) I couldn't stop reading! I agree with your review, like you'd have read my thoughts! I haven't read anything so good since I finished the Casual Vacancy.

  3. sounds good..
    - Janine

  4. Okay, well now I can't NOT read this book. It's funny - I've never thought JK Rowling was a particularly exceptional author either, but MAN can she tell a story. I'm looking forward to getting this maybe on my Nook so I can have some good bedtime reading for once :)

    - Jess
    The Mod Mermaid

    1. Definitely read it! I'm glad other people know what I mean!

  5. Gah, it looks like I'll have to add this onto my ever expanding book lust list! x

  6. Thanks for this review, I'm totally going to check it out now! :)

    <3 Megan

  7. I was really excited when this book came out and my dad stocked it in his store, but my parents both got to it before I did, and still haven't read it (especially because I'm nowhere near my parents now and just haven't gotten around to buying it).
    Casual Vacancy is definitely on my "to read" list!

  8. I was hesitant to read this book for the exact same reasons you stated, but it sounds phenomenal. I might have to read it now.

  9. I really need to read this book. My sister read it over the summer and keeps telling me to read it!

  10. I've heard there is a really good portrayal of a social worker in this book - I know it's not the focus of the story but I have an nearest in it base if hat. I'm currently reading JK Rowlings new book that she's written under the name Robert Galbraith - a cuckoos calling. It's really good so far! This is next on the list!

    Jenni x

    Bows Bangles & Bakes


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