Sunday, November 25, 2012

“The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling – Pagford’s War

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling - book cover
Most of you know J.K. Rowling as the author of the Harry Potter books which have become immensely popular over the last decade, with each one of them having a movie based on it. I’ll be the first to admit that contrary to pretty much everyone, I never really liked the Harry Potter series.

My exposition to it was limited to the first fifty pages of the first book and to the first movie. I can’t really explain it, but it just never stuck with me. In any case, regardless of whether you liked Harry Potter or not, you’ll probably be interested in J.K. Rowling’s first attempt at an adult novel (no, not that kind of adult novel), The Casual Vacancy.

Published at the end of September 2012, The Casual Vacancy follows the events occurring in the small English town of Pagford. On the surface, the town seems as quaint as a town can be, with a marketplace, an old abbey, classic stone architecture…etc…etc…

As you can guess though, beneath the surface things are far from being what they seem. The town’s inhabitants are all at war with each other; students with their pupils, children with their parents, the rich against the poor… Amidst all of that, Barry Faribrother dies suddenly, setting of a series of revelatory events which spill over into the local election under way, preparing the stage for the grandest war to ever take place in Pagford.

As far as the technical aspects are concerned, nothing can be reproached to Rowling; the sentences are expertly crafted, they flow well without being too complex or simple and they always get the point across.

I found the characters in this novel to be relatable, mainly because they actually feel like people you could meet in your daily life. Heck, chances are that those characters will remind you of people you already know. This goes a long way towards making you care about the events which take place and how they affect the town.

All in all, The Casual Vacancy is a novel that has it all, from laugh-out-loud moments (at least if you like black humor) all the way to deep and thought-provoking scenes. In the end, regardless of how the war may end in Pagford, chances are you’ll be marked by it.

J. K. Rowling (July 31st, 1965)

J. K. Rowling

Personal site

Joanne “Jo” Rowling, known best by her pen name J.K. Rowling, is a British novelist who has achieved international fame and success with the Harry Potter fantasy series. Though her writings were mostly aimed at children, winning her multiple awards, such as the National Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year in 1999, she has recently steered into the world of adult literature.

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