Shortlisted for: UK Author of the year – Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early 40s, 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 facade 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.
©2012 J.K. Rowling (P)2012 Hachette Digital
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 05-10-12

Stick with it

Like some of the longer Harry Potter books, I found this a bit ponderous at first. But the characters, humour and the fantastic way J K Rowling has of drawing things together made for a final 3rd as addicting as any of her previous work. I greatly enjoyed Tom Hollanders reading and accents too. So stick with it if the first downloadable chunk doesn't grab you. I was very glad I did, this is the best book I have listened to this year.

I was sad to hear that some quarters of the Sikh community have been critical of the portrayal of one of the teenage characters. The same advice applies here too, stick with it - I think the treatment of Sikhism is actually very positive.

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39 of 42 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 04-10-12

'The book to listen to'.

A five star book with a 10 star narrator, well done Tom Hollander, you made a great book even better.

I have read so many reviews and as usual they are very mixed, all I can add as both a parent and a 'foster carer' this book is so true to life it will hopefully open peoples eyes to the reality of life for so many kids whatever class or creed they come from. We neglect our children at our peril, thank you

for pointing this out to the vast majority that hide their heads in the sand.

This book will be around for a long time to come.

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29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 01-10-12

Don't have expectations!

What made the experience of listening to The Casual Vacancy the most enjoyable?

Rowling excels at providing the reader with complex characters - almost as if you are first looking at the shadow from a cardboard cut-out, a shallow cliche that slowly grows in complexity for good or ill. I came into the story with few pre-conceived ideas as to what I would find - other than there would be no magic.

Indeed, there was none. There was life, in all its hard brutal reality, starkly painted and unforgiving.

A book to enjoy for its difference.

What about Tom Hollander’s performance did you like?

Tom Hollander provides an even pace and warm tones that do not distract from the story.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By debra on 05-10-12

Reality - and exceptional insight

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. I can't wait for more people to read this. It's a very true portrayal of marginalization and the light and shadow of intimate relationships.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Both Crystal and Andrew haunt me. Their circumstances, vulnerability and strength evoke empathy and hope for their happiness. Rowling understands duality in humans where the good and the bad sit alongside each other. She shows the irrefutable reasoning behind life choices we otherwise criticize.

What does Tom Hollander bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Great reader! He easily moves between the accents to embody the characters.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I can't forget the final scene.

Any additional comments?

I wonder if the reason for negative reader reviews is due to their expectation of fantasy based literature. The very realist style of this book is its strength.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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