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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

The Casual Vacancy

A BIG NOVEL ABOUT A SMALL TOWN ...

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 fa├žade 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

I really wanted to love this book as I have heard so many people knock it and felt that this was just sour grapes and not wanting Ms Rowling to have a success outwith Harry Potter.   Sadly, it seems, the detractors have a valid point.

The basic concept of the story regarding the fighting going on around the vacancy in the local council was very solid and could have made for a very funny farce.  Or if she had concentrated on the SocioEconomic element of the Weedon family and The Fields estate, then it would have been a more serious and interesting story.  It felt like she had these two separate ideas for a novel and merged them together into one, so doing neither story justice in the telling.

It took me a couple of hundred pages just to get to know which character was which as there were too many introduced all at once.  I didn't feel like I actually got to know (or indeed care) very well for any of the characters, which detracted from any enjoyment I could have had from this book.

It ended up being about 200 pages too long for me which, I believe, was caused by my point above of it actually being two separate novels merged into one.

I still gave it 2 out of 5 points as the author is, without a doubt, a talented author and has great ideas for stories but this one just did not give me much enjoyment and I would not recommend to anyone to waste their time reading it.  There are just too many good books out there that will provide a lot more enjoyment to a reader. 

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