110 of 126 people found the following review helpful
Searing Social Commentary,
This review is from: The Casual Vacancy (Hardcover)
I loved this book - yes it took a while to get going - with a huge cast of characters, each painstakingly introduced. However, the lengthy beginning certainly paid off as you become immersed in the daily, tortured struggles of people trying to find a sense of importance, 'authenticity' and meaning in the small community of Pagford.
These characters - seemingly so small and petty, have been made magnificent by the lavish care given to their stories. The pettiness, prejudice and narrow mindedness rings true, even if you have not actually met 'these sort of people' - all of us suspect that parts of them live inside all of us.
This wonderful novel is about as far from Harry Potter as you can get - but it doesn't seem as though JK Rowling set out to prove that she could write a profane, gritty urban satire/tragedy. No - this novel is so perfectly formed and well-written - I am left gasping in awe of her talent as a writer on many levels.
If you are reading it for the 'Harry Potter' experience - you will be sadly disappointed. For me - it was akin to discovering a fresh new voice.
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Initial post: Oct 10, 2012 11:43:54 AM PDT
Well said! I had a hard time with the first couple of chapters, but then couldn't put it down. I could pick out most of the characters in my own town.
Posted on Oct 18, 2012 12:09:10 PM PDT
Parker James says:
I have not bought the book. Nor any of the Harry Potter Series. However I saw each movie. A very talented writer.
I find it ironic that this book is given three stars; although not unexpected on Amazon.
So I ask a simple question.
What is wrong with an author extending one's range?
J.K. Rowling did not need to write this.
She wanted to.
I applaud that.
Posted on Oct 18, 2012 5:00:29 PM PDT
Karen, I agree with you completly. This is the antithesis of Harry Potter except in the area of Rowlings astute observations of human behavior and motivation. I would recommend to everyone who begins this novel to take a notepad and write notes on the characters for about the first third of the book. After that you know them all by memory, and it's truly worth it.
Posted on Oct 29, 2012 5:00:18 PM PDT
Thank you for your review. I am so sick of hearing abt the comparison to Harry Potter. Rowling is a gifted writer and story teller who understands the human spirit.
Posted on May 15, 2013 7:51:40 PM PDT
Agreed. Reading this book, it took me a bit to over come my initial "shock", I guess. I was not expecting something so deep and dark. I wasn't expecting Harry Potter-like story, but it still kind of felt like I dunked my head in ice water at first. However, once I'd sort of adjusted, I found it to be a very great read that left me with a lot to think about. This book definitely shows off JK's writing talents. Some of the descriptions she's penned were so amazing.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2014 8:33:29 PM PST
J. Engstrom says:
Very good review, Karen. Succinct in just a few paragraphs.
I reviewed the book chapter-by-chapter, including quotes when appropriate in a light, entertaining style while still acknowledging the dark undertones, of course.
Here's the link in case you'd like to compare our thoughts:
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