Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"The Casual Vacancy," by J. K. Rowling

I have to thank my friend S. for convincing me to read J.K. Rowling’s novel for adults, “The Casual Vacancy” (Little, Brown, 2012). She knew that I was not at all interested in Rowling’s Harry Potter books, as I do not read fantasy or science fiction. She and others have told me that the Harry Potter series is different, and I should give the books a try, but I never have. So when I heard Rowling had written this adult novel, I somehow, even though I knew it wasn’t fantasy, felt (unreasonably, I know) that I would not like it. Well, S. kindly sent it to me, I started reading it, and I couldn’t put it down! The set-up is perfect for my tastes: it is the story of a small town in England, the main characters in that town, and their relationships, interchanges, and secrets. The novel is expertly plotted; the characters and their relationships are compelling, and there is something new and surprising around every corner. Some of the characters are very unlikable; some are likable or admirable or both; best of all, most of them are the usual human mix of good and bad. The children and young adolescents are particularly believable in their unpredictability and poignant in their vulnerability. Some of the stories are heartbreaking. Much of what occurs has to do with human nature, pride, politics, and perhaps most especially, social class. I was impressed. Thank you, S., for getting me to read “The Casual Vacancy”!


  1. Ok, now go read Harry Potter! I myself hate fantasy/magic stories, and only started reading these years ago when my son was reading them. But there is something about them--they are entertaining, well written, scary, funny...but also cozy. Think of it less as a fantasy story, more as a British boarding school story. Add to that the powerful themes of good and evil... they are addictive.

    1. OK, OK! I will at least obtain a copy and dip into it.... (The mention of "a British boarding school story" was a good know me well!)

  2. If there were a "like" button I would push it.


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