The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy

by J. K. Rowling


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When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little 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 town's 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?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594710554
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 04/28/2015
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 657,927
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

J.K. Rowling is the author of the bestselling Harry Potter series of seven books, published between 1997 and 2007, which have sold over 450 million copies worldwide, are distributed in more than 200 territories, have been translated into 73 languages, and have been turned into eight blockbuster films.

As well as an Order of the British Empire for services to children's literature, J.K. Rowling is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, including the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, France's Légion d'honneur, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award, and she has been a commencement speaker at Harvard University. She supports a wide range of causes and is the founder of Lumos, which works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children.


Perthshire, Scotland

Date of Birth:

July 31, 1965

Place of Birth:

Chipping Sodbury near Bristol, England


Exeter University

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The Casual Vacancy 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1198 reviews.
eire11 More than 1 year ago
I see a lot of readers giving this a book a bad review because of the language the writer used. They believe she does this to make a profit. These readers a totally missing the point. This writer doesn't need the money. She has made a fortune off of the Harry Potter series. She is now free to write about something for herself. She is giving you a glimpse into the world she has experienced growing up and into her adulthood. She doesn't care what the critics think; this book is for her. She shares the pain, anger, frustration, cynicism, sadness, and hopelessness, of the past she has experienced and risen above. I suspect it to be cathartic for her. It has made her the determined, driven person she is. Positive outcomes can come from negative experiences. Yeah for you J.K, you did it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To bind J.K. Rowling to her success as the author of the Harry Potter series severely restricts opinion of this subsequent work. Opening this book and expecting a magical work of art similar to what she was able to create with Potter is like searching for the toy in the cereal because it was advertised on the box. Seeing Rowley's name printed on the cover no longer indicates wands and wizards. Readers of this particular novel must understand that before reading the first few pages. Rowling proves, brilliantly, that she is not just a children's author. The Casual Vacancy pulls the reader into the lives and homes of a small English town in the midst of underlying political and personal turmoil. There are quite a few characters to keep up with, but they are each presented in a way that the reader shouldn't have much difficulty recalling them through the early stages of the book. The lives of these characters, along with particular delayed revelations about their pasts, allows for rich development. Nearly every character is presented as both protagonist and antagonist at some point within the pages. Many readers will undoubtedly notice that Rowling gives light to certain problems within today's society. These problems revolve around her character's lives and affect them in ways that drive the novel through to the end. The most interesting aspect of this novel, and possibly the most shocking to Potter fans, is Rowling's use of language. Both dialect and word choice are raw and true to the characters they come from. Rowling also presents a clear distinction between what characters say and what they think - allowing for variables within their lives and their interactions with others. I highly recommend this novel as both an involving read as well as a wonderful example of modern/contemporary literature.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its exactly as the author has decribed. Completely for adults. And she has done beautiful job of writting this. You would think she has always written like this. Dont except friendly happy fairy land. This is human nature, so raw and true. Love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Again, as has been stated numerous times: this is an adult book! That said, I began reading it last night in bed----should not have done that, because I was up way too late reading! I can not put it down! She grabs your attention from the first page! I read a lot of British authors so I understand some of the odd wordings,but I can see where some people cannot grasp or visualize what dhe is writing about. Being an Eastenders fan also helps with the wording and visuals! Awesome book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In all honesty, I was hesitant to read this. I've always connected JK Rowling to children's books but she proved that she's a universal writer. Not only did she captivate my heart with the Harry Potter series but she actually pulled me in to this book as well. I really can't wait to see if she comes up anything else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The description states that this is an ADULT book! How smart do you have to be too see that it? Please use your common sense next time and leave your stupidity behind! Some, like me, enjoy a different taste from the Harry Potter author, vulgar lanaguage or not!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am only on page 9 and she already has me pulled in! I highly praise Rowlling's writing skills. I have been a fan of her writing since I was 13! I now aspire to work harder on my own writing. J.K. you are queen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As I read the reviews, I recalled an interview that J.R. Rowling gave in regards to this book. She said that it was meant to be very different from the Harry Potter series, along with being darker and with a more English and personal edge to it. I understand that the language and vulgarity may be an issue, but I don't believe she's using it for her own entertainment. I believe that she's just writing about what she's familiar with.
J_Capricci More than 1 year ago
I'm glad that Rowling has chosen to continue writing, and that she has attempted to experiment with her voice as an author. I cannot recommend this book to anyone however as I did not enjoy it in the least. First the elephant in the room seems to be the book's language and sexuality. There isn't anything wrong with making use of vulgarity or sex as long as it serves some narrative purpose. In "The Casual Vacancy" however this simply isn't the case in 99% of the instances where it occurs. Quite frankly I found Rowling's depictions of sexuality and her various character's obsessions with sex to be immature and juvenile in the extreme. Another important consideration is the transition between characters who serve as the narrative viewpoint. Rowling clearly has a lot to learn on this front since even at the end of the book I was still having difficulty identifying when the narrative perspective had shifted until several paragraphs after it happened. More than anything else it's the lack of clear transition that makes it almost impossible to keep the various characters and their relationships to one another straight. Dialogue is nearly non-existent. Most of the text is devoted to meaningless private musings of the various characters which almost exclusively focus on how a single event affects them to the exclusion of all else, or alternately how much they despise/dislike/or disapprove of something. When that's not the case their thoughts are often on how to turn a piece of gossip to their own benefit. I don't think it's unfair to say that for every page of dialogue the reader is forced to endure about 10 pages of puerile rumination from whichever character is center stage at the moment. Furthermore in regards to dialogue any time that some conversation might be pertinent to the narrative it is often interrupted and kept from the reader for the simple fact that whatever character is currently driving the story doesn't want to participate in the conversation or disagrees with the views being put forth, which prompts another mind numbing descent into the character's own vapid self-obsession. This prevents any of the characters from ever seeming to actually interact with each other and inhibits them from developing relationships which the reader might care about. Finally pooling the entire cast of characters together you'd be hard pressed to find a single redeeming value amongst them. They are unequivocally horrible, small-minded, mean-spirited, vapid, puerile, unsympathetic people. The only way that they could have a positive impact between them on the town they all inhabit would be they were all killed in a train crash. I genuinely wanted to enjoy this book, I read it. But the simple fact is that all else aside the book is billed as a black comedy and I didn't laugh once throughout. My contention is that anyone who for some reason does find humor in the book needs to seriously reexamine themselves and their behavior because between the child-abuse, both physical and sexual, the self-obsession to exclusion of all else, blatant self-aggrandizing, casual alcoholism, drug abuse and psychologically stunted views on sexuality presented in the book there just isn't anything that a well-adjusted person should find funny. That isn't to say that there aren't people who will enjoy the book for it's purported social agenda or even the simple fact that J.K. Rowling wrote it. I'm simply not among them and wouldn't want to
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Come on, people! You cannot compare this book with the 'Harry Potter' series. Yes, there is foul language; yes, it costs $17.00; and yes, the size of the font is small! Please base your reviews on the actual content of the book. That being said, JK Rowling is a great storyteller, no matter the genre. The Casual Vacancy is depressingly good, I found myself being sucked into these characters horribly realistic and devastating lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'll admit, I bought this ebook because J.K. Rowling wrote it and I love the Harry Potter books. In this new novel from Rowling, we see the same amazing ability to captivate an audience and I for one was thrilled to find that Rowling is just as capable of holding an adult audience's attention as she did with her Harry Potter books meant for a younger audience (though we all read them, didn't we?!) I found the language completely appropriate to the story Rowling was telling and not at all gratuitous. I will definitely be buying any novels Rowlong puts out in the future. She has proved to me that she is not just a fantasy author and is more than capable of writing fantastic thought provoking novels for adults!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MOST OF THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS ARE EXAGGERRATED? Or written by extremely conservative people, dont let this deter you. I find it odd that i see reviews that the vulgarity of the sample turned them off and how offended they were by curse words and "dont let your kids read this".......duh jk rowling said its a book for adults... That being said I found the sample very mild as far as potentially offensive context, maybe because I anticipated more based off the negative reviews that were either overexaggerated or just written by extremely conservative people, which is fine. Based on the sample I WILL be buying the book. I am very intrigued by how the well described characters are being sewn together. I find each persons story equally interesting and it is very easy to keep track of everyone so far. This is actually very well written , there isn't tons of unneccesary context describing the scene like some books (The Pillars of the Earth ...::shudders::) which is like the author saying "this is exactly the image you will see when you read this book!!" Instead, I notice I am able to use my imagination to design the characters and the homes and the cities. The parts that were most vulgar (I guess?) Was the son who loathes his father because of the type of man he is. So the author realistictly and accurately depicts what most of our teenage selves would have thought and wanted to say . Also I couldnt help but chuckle at one young mans crush on another may be semi awkward to read but it is comically accurate and somewhat relatible ...ahh hormones... once again based off the first 59 pages , if this is the pace of the vulgarity, I look forward to the rest of the book. Very well done so far Ms Rowling. Once again..this book is clearly not for ultra conservative or very young people.....and no thats not the political conservative its the actual meaning . Nothing wrong with being offended by swear words, just this book isnt for you....dont blame the author for not writing to your views instead of hers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hated this book. I read everything. ALL KINDS OF BOOKS! I dont have a problem with sex, language or any of the other things that sooo bothered other people. I just couldnt find anything worthwhile in these characters. It is a hard read. Mostly, I feel like this was 3 days of my life that I will never get back!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I finished it last night, and wanted to sleep on it to crystalize my opinions. I woke with many of the characters still on my heart, which to me is a sign of a very well-written and thoughtful story. *slight spoiler alert* IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY SEXUAL REFERENCES (MANY, ALL TYPES), DRUG/ALCOHOL USE AND PROFANITY, you will not be able to enter this world. And entering it was a little difficult, I will agree with some of the other reviews on that. I see this as due to 2 reasons. 1) it is emotionally and mentally jarring to read realistic (quite graphic) adult fiction from JKR, esp. as I am SO familiar with the HP books and also know that she's a seemingly happy married mom now, no longer living in any semblance of this world she presents; and 2) being an American myself, I was distracted by some of the current Anglican English references. For instance, it took me a couple of chapters to discover that the Anglican meaning of "estate" is not only entirely different from my western mental image, it means different things at different times in the story. Get past those little speedbumps, though, and once I could keep the characters straight I was completely engrossed. In execution, it IS a little heavy-handed, but I would argue that the graphic nature of some of the acts/characters/etc. is necessary in most instances to jar us out of our comfortable mental moral status quo. We begin to sympathize with the characters in many ways BECAUSE we see them part of such ugliness in their own lives, so foreign to many of us, and it fosters empathy. JKR is a consummate wordsmith and I found myself arrested many times by the turn of phrases she chose. She has a knack for using amazing combinations of words to either illustrate nuances to whatever character or action you are reading, but also many times to give you insight into the exact feelings of a character. She has a gift for making you CARE about the characters, even if you wouldn't ever have them over for dinner. It is a heavy, gritty story, and is DEFNINITELY not for kids or teens. I have 5 kids, oldest is a very mature 14 year old, and my yardstick is whether I would have to explain words or acts to them, and whether they need be exposed to such ugliness yet for any perceivable good purpose. I would never give this book to a HS teen, but in college they will be ready to discuss the issues it raises and whether they are willing to take up the challenges they see reflected here. My vision of the English countryside, with it's ancient towns and churches, as an idyll set apart from the passage of time is forever altered. You will laugh, you will cry, you will be forced to confront your own prejudices and moral standards, and you will probably be more aware of social deficiences and differences than you were before you read this. It is a book I will happy visit again later on, when I am more confident that I can overcome the difficulties I had in the first chapters, that of being unable to divorce the HP lovlieness with the dirt and grime of this story. But it is staying with me, and I am impressed at her talent and courage to put this out.
ER_RN More than 1 year ago
After 150 pages, I forced myself to finish this. I could not feel empathetic to any character, although the various reasons for their actions were clear. It was a note on the state of the world, but no pleasure to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely not Potter but it didn't have to be. It stood on its own as a very dark and real depiction of life...that it's not perfect no matter where you sit. The language and descriptions were all necessary. Very English.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book could have had 100 pages taken out and it would have been much better. I suppose I was expecting great things from this author but instead felt that it was a mish-mash of ten different plots with several hot button topics thrown in for good measure. Tough to get into and I was never left wanting to read more but instead wishing for it to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for something Potter-esque. Forget it, don' t buy this book. The language is gritty, the situations sometimes crass, but all appropriate to the story being told. An interesting, well written tale of small minded small town poltics, with the addition of teenaged angst often fueld by those same narrow minded attitudes. Kudos to Rowlings for stepping outside the much loved Potter box. My only regret was a determined bleakness, and lack of any humor.. for even in the worst of times, and the worst of people, there's always humor. It may be black, but still humorous. Overall a great read, and actually well worth the cost to see another side of a great story teller. The way Rowlings made you love Harry and all of his friends, is much akin to the way she makes you loathe these people. The true mark of a great writer is to engage the reader with an emotion, be that emotion love or contempt, if you "feel" it they've done their job. Even bad reviews are good reviews if the author elicits emotion. Before purchasing this book, read the reviews, there's no middle ground. Love it or hate it, she's still done the job of a truely great writer. This is not the Potter feel good book. It stands alone, raw and real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down. The characters were vivid and unforgetable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unlike the majority of people who read this novel, I have not read any of the Harry Potter books. Therefore, my cons about the book do not stem from the fact that I was hoping this book to be anything like Harry Potter. In fact, I actually wanted to read it because it was something completely different from Harry Potter. For some reason, I absolutely cannot get into fantasy books (don't fret Harry Potter fanatics, I will attempt to read them again some day). That being said, I still knew Rowling was a fantastic author and was actually super excited when I saw a book by her that was more along my genre of interest. Unfortunately, I was sort of let down. There were a few occassions where I felt sucked in, but for the most part, I found myself trying to read it quickly so I could finish it and start a new book. (I hate not finishing a book). I was not put off by her language like many reviewers said. I sometimes felt like it was a tad overboard, but for the most part, thought it was fitting for the characters or storyline. I don't use or condone vulgar language, but that doesn't mean other people don't use it. The same goes for physical abuse, rape, alcoholism, drug abuse, child neglect etc. No these things aren't okay, but they're a reality. A book like this might not be for everyone, but I appreciate the rawness and the eye opening events that are a reality for far too many people. The main things I did not like: Too many characters with a lack of character development. You could tell Rowling intended for strong relationships among the characters, but it's hard to appreciate all the relationships if the characters haven't been developed. Early in the book a lot of characters of introduced. Transitions between characters and their stories are quick and make it challenging to follow. I think I finally learned all the characters and their stories in the last 30 pages. Speaking of the last 30 pages...the ending was very contrived.It brought together the ending of all the characters' stories too quickly and in an unrealistic fashion. The other thing that was unrealistic was the amount of depressing and problem riddin stories taking place at once. I understand these things are a reality but couldn't there have been any characters without a major flaw?? This leads me to the main thing I liked about the novel.... Because the characters all had flaws, it made it hard to pick sides. There were times I truely felt torn about what I wanted to happen. It helped that there weren't characters that I actually liked or could relate to to sway my opinion. Hoping Harry Potter will be much better :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the worst books i have ever read. I read all varieties of books and i find no offense in the topics written, however the book was flat out anticlimactic. It is as if the book never would get anywhere. Huge disappointment!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't mind vulgarity. I don't mind sex scenes. I didn't expect Harry Potter. What I did expect was a hint of JK's imagination, humor and character development. Unfortunately, this book had none of the aspects of this writer that I've loved. The book was tedious and negative. I'm terribly disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was fine with the language, sex and horrid people...I was totally enjoying the book as the slow-starting story unfolded. I was staying up late to read as much as my tired eyes would allow. I was really liking how everyone was so two-faced and how the teens were emerging as the strong characters. I was excited to open my Nook so I could find what dirty secret would next be revealed. That stopped abruptly as I neared the end. I could not read a single page past ****spoiler alert**** the river scene. My heart is broken and I hate this book. I couldn't care less how it ended or what became of the wretched people and their wretched town. There is enough "real life" in real life. This book is marketed as scandalous and entertaining but ***huge spoiler*** killing a scared, neglected toddler just to prove how self-involded the town has become is NOT entertaining. And dragging it out so that the reader has hope after hope that someone will go to him. Simply awful. If I saw a three-year old sitting alone or crying for his sister, I would go to him immediately--even if I was from a hiddeous town. That's reality. A book full of people who can ignore a frightened child is simply morbid and unnecessary.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very depressing story. Hard to get through the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 15 and at the risk of sounding horrifically concieted, i am rather advanced for my age, particularly in reading and maturity. (Heavily lacking in spelling, please forgive my awkward renditions) I am a die-hard Potterhead and despite knowing that CV would not be anything close to the whimsical world of HP I was extremely excited for this novel. However, I made the drastic mistake of reading the reviews of CV, which painted gruesome pictures in my mind. (I remain a teenager, after all. Ocasional rude thoughts and words are practically expected of us my modern society.) Hesitant now, I chose to try the sample before buying the book. Shame on me for allowing perfect strangers to mar my faith in JK's talent for storytelling. Yes, CV is obcene at times, and not typically suitable for 15 yr-olds. But, we can be ridiculously mature and look past such excentricities to discover the wonderfull story at it's core. Congrats JK, nothing will ever match HP (in my heart) but this was a magnificent effort. Well done! -Always