Rameau’s Review Archive: The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

Originally posted on Goodreads January 31st 2013.


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 Casual VacancyThe Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Unpopular opinion reporting to duty.

The writing is not as polished as some I’ve read, the editor could have exercised a sharper scalpel at times, and the ending felt like a bit too tidy a bow: A single would have sufficed instead of a double.

But. It’s funny I use that word to justify a five star rating, but here it is:

Rowling is unmatched in her storytelling abilities. I’m sure there are others who can spin a yarn from as many—or more—threads as she does, but none come to mind right now. I positively despised all the characters, but I adored the complexity of them and the story that tied them together.

This isn’t only an unpopular opinion, it’s an unhelpful one. There are others who’ll gladly dissect the lives and events of unhappy Pagfordians for you, and there are others who’ll speculate on how this book fits in with others Rowling has written. I’m not one of them. All I can say is, that if you keep an open mind, if you void your expectations and whatever associations the name Rowling conjures, this book has the potential to amaze you.

Or not. It’s definitely not for everyone.

I, however, loved the last line.

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12 Responses to Rameau’s Review Archive: The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

  1. Blodeuedd says:

    I like Ana's review better just cos everyone hated it

  2. I read the first chapter and decided to leave it for another time.

  3. Rameau decided to present her side of the story. 😉 Thanks for a visit!

  4. Oh I can hope one day you'll return to it and write a review? Pretty please?

  5. It also got 90 'likes' on Goodreads. And I was attacked by some vicious trolls. It was fun!

  6. Maybe some day. You never know! 😉

  7. Aurian says:

    And now I still have no idea what the book is about. But I really have no intention whatsoever to read it, just because of the author's name like millions of other people.

  8. It is about the ordinary life in contemporary Britain. No magic, no fun.

  9. rameau says:

    I'll just echo Ana's sentiments here. And woefully late.

  10. rameau says:

    Her review IS better.

  11. rameau says:

    There are spoilerier reviews to be found elsewhere. I just suck at writing anything informative.

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