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?
The most important thing to remember before you start reading this book is to not expect anything like the Harry Potter books. This is a book for adults and there are no spells, wizards, Voldemort (even though some of the people in the story are equally cruel) or Hogwarts. You have to start this book with an open mind because this is a totally different kind of story.
This book has so many characters that in the beginning I found it difficult to keep up. I found myself flipping back and forth to find out the details about the characters. After a while though you get to know them a bit more and they stick. Some more than others.
The Casual Vacancy is not a cliffhanger book and after the first hundred pages or so, I really did consider putting it back on the shelf. My curiosity won though so I did get through the five hundred-page books, but unfortunately I’m not that impressed.
It could be that this just wasn’t my kind of book. There were too many characters for my taste and I felt like I was constantly waiting for something big to happen. All in all it is a well written book. It tells the story of the little town of Pagford in a way that anyone who has ever lived in a little town where everyone knows everyone can relate to. She describes the characters in a way that makes them come alive to you, even though you probably wouldn’t want to befriend so many of them.
I give the book a four on the dice. It was entertaining in its own way, but somehow I felt like something was missing.
Every book is like a new relationship, but there wasn’t much spark between me and The Casual Vacancy I’m afraid, but I’m pretty sure that it will make someone else perfectly happy!
There is no doubt that J.K. Rowling is an excellent writer, but I think I’m sticking with the Harry Potter books for now.