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The Casual Vacancy

Cover of The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy

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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.

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.

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    4
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    7.2
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    6

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Awards-
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.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 1, 2012
    On the face of it, Rowling’s first adult book is very different from the Harry Potter books that made her rich and famous. It’s resolutely unmagical: the closest thing to wizardry is the ability to hack into the amateurish Pagford Parish Council Web site. Instead of a battle for worldwide domination, there’s a fight over a suddenly empty seat on that Council, the vacancy of the title. Yet despite the lack of invisibility cloaks and pensieves, Pagford isn’t so different from Harry’s world. There’s a massive divide between the haves and the have-nots—the residents of the Fields, the council flats that some want to push off onto a neighboring county council. When Councilor Barry Fairbrother—born in Fields but now a middle-class Pagforder—dies suddenly, the fight gets uglier. In tiny Pagford, and at its school, which caters to rich and poor alike, everyone is connected: obstreperous teenager Krystal Weedon, the sole functioning member of her working-class family, hooks up with the middle-class son of her guidance counselor; the social worker watching over Krystal’s drug-addled mother dates the law partner of the son of the dead man’s fiercest Council rival; Krystal’s great-grandmother’s doctor was Fairbrother’s closest ally; the daughters of the doctor and the social worker work together, along with the best friend of Krystal’s hookup; and so on. Rowling is relentlessly competent: all these people and their hatreds and hopes are established and mixed together. Secrets are revealed, relationships twist and break, and the book rolls toward its awful, logical climax with aplomb. As in the Harry Potter books, children make mistakes and join together with a common cause, accompanied here by adults, some malicious, some trying yet failing. Minus the magic, though, good and evil are depressingly human, and while the characters are all well drawn and believable, they aren’t much fun. Agent: The Blair Partnership.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 24, 2012
    What secrets lurk in the hearts of the residents of Pagford? This is the central question in Rowling’s dark novel that charts the cutthroat competition for an empty seat on the town council. In this audio edition, the challenge for narrator Tom Hollander is the book’s varied cast, which features a dozen main characters and many minor ones—all requiring unique voices and accents. Additionally challenging is the fact that Rowling’s characters often act one way in public and another way—a rather horrid way—in private. Much to his credit, Hollander handles all of this with great aplomb, whether he’s voicing the boozy Samantha, her pompous father-in-law, or Fats, a skinny teenager who very well might be a sociopath. Hollander exhibits particular skill creating a full range of voices for the book’s male characters, e.g., the timid squeaks of the commitment-phobic Gavin and the curt, deep grunts of duplicitous Simon Price. Hollander’s narration captures the sardonic wit of the novel, animating the author’s acerbic observations of human weakness with intelligence and style. Hollander even sings, offering a solid rendition of “Morning Has Broken” in a pivotal funeral scene. A Little, Brown hardcover.

  • The Daily Beast "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
  • The Washington Post "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."—The Washington Post
  • The Huffington Post "Rowling knows how to write a twisty, involving plot....She is clearly a skilled writer."—The Huffington Post
  • The Wall Street Journal "A positively propulsive read."—The Wall Street Journal
  • Entertainment Weekly "Often entertaining....Rowling does a nice job laying out her 20-plus characters' endless pretensions and weaknesses, which she punctures with gleeful flicks of a surprisingly sharp comic blade."—Entertainment Weekly
  • The Mirror (UK) "The Casual Vacancy is a complete joy to read....a stunning, brilliant, outrageously gripping and entertaining evocation of British society today."—The Mirror (UK)
  • The Bookseller (UK) "Rowling has written a grand novel...a very brave book."—The Bookseller (UK)
  • The Guardian (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)
  • Telegraph (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)
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  • Publisher
    Little, Brown and Company
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