The bad news: it's not Harry Potter. The good news is that it's an excellent portrait of a small town and the awful people living in it, and what happens when awful people get involved in small-town politics. Each citizen of Pagford gets his or her chance to tell their side of the story, focusing on thought-provoking issues like bullying, drug use, and prostitution. It's a lovely tragic-comic summer read.
J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel reveals the struggles both between us and within us. Sprinkled with laugh-out-loud wit and heart-wrenching honesty, The Casual Vacancy tells a story of teen angst, of bitter adults vying for their dues, of parents and educators striving to relate. This is an important novel that sheds light on matters that we would prefer stay in the dark.
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 façade 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.
About the Author
J.K. Rowling is the author of the bestselling Harry Potter series of seven books, published between 1997 and 2007, which have sold over 450 million copies worldwide, are distributed in more than 200 territories, have been translated into 73 languages, and have been turned into eight blockbuster films.
As well as an Order of the British Empire for services to children's literature, J.K. Rowling is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, including the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, France's Légion d'honneur, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award, and she has been a commencement speaker at Harvard University. She supports a wide range of causes and is the founder of Lumos, which works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children.
Praise for THE CASUAL VACANCY:
"I had come under the spell of a great novel....A big, ambitious, brilliant, profane, funny, deeply upsetting and magnificently eloquent novel of contemporary England, rich with literary intelligence....This is a deeply moving book by somebody who understands both human beings and novels very, very deeply."—Lev Grossman, Time
"A vivid read with great, memorable characters and a truly emotional payoff....Rowling captures the humanity in everyone, even if that humanity is not always a pretty sight."—People
"This book represents a truckload of shrewdness.... There were sentences I underlined for the sheer purpose of figuring out how English words could be combined so delightfully....genuinely moving."—Washington Post
"A positively propulsive read."—Wall Street Journal
"An insanely compelling page-turner....The Casual Vacancy is a comedy, but a comedy of the blackest sort, etched with acid and drawn with pitch....Rowling proves ever dexterous at launching multiple plot lines that roar along simultaneously, never entangling them except when she means to. She did not become the world's bestselling author by accident. She knows down in her bones how to make you keep turning the pages."—The Daily Beast
"There are plenty of pleasures to be had in The Casual Vacancy....Parts of the story would be tonally of a piece with any Richard Price or Dennis Lehane novel, or an episode of The Wire."—Parade
"Rowling knows how to write a twisty, involving plot....She is clearly a skilled writer."—The Huffington Post
"The Casual Vacancy is a complete joy to read....a stunning, brilliant, outrageously gripping and entertaining evocation of British society today."—The Mirror (UK)
"Rowling has written a grand novel...a very brave book."—The Bookseller (UK)
"A study of provincial life, with a large cast and multiple, interlocking plots, drawing inspiration from Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot...The Casual Vacancy immerses the reader in a richly peopled, densely imagined world...intelligent, workmanlike, and often funny."—The Guardian (UK)
"The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling's first adult novel, is sometimes funny, often startlingly well observed....Jane Austen herself would admire the way [Rowling] shows the news of Barry's death spreading like a virus round Pagford."—Telegraph (UK)