The Casual Vacancy

By J. K. Rowling

I haven’t felt compelled to write about a book I finished for a while now. This being number 24 for this year, I felt like this one was one of the easiest for me to get through for how long and complex it was.


I put off starting this one for a while after I bought it because of this summary, not knowing if I was up for something so serious. The prospect of reading about local politics was a little daunting, but I enjoyed it despite all that unfamiliar jargon. There is so much more to this story than the competition for the open council seat. I admire Rowling’s storytelling, how she seamlessly blends together the separate lives of her characters. And the characters themselves are so real as you get to see into their lives and secret inner thoughts. Even the dialogue is finely tuned to the slang and ways of speech of each individual.

Heated interactions between wives and husbands, children and parents – are all written so realistically! I can find people in my life exactly like these characters. At times I knew what a character wanted to do even before they thought about wanting to do it. That is how well this beloved storyteller brings her written creations to life for me. I need to reread the classic Harry Potter series as an adult!

The theme of Rich vs. Poor is also very evident in the council’s debate on the fate of the “Fields”, basically the unwanted slums of perfect little Pagford.  You can feel how the debate over keeping the Fields or offloading their responsibility onto the next town over fuels the resentment felt between party lines. Every circulating rumor and sideways glance at the Fielders and their children speaks of a divided town.

Thoroughly enjoyable. No matter the side you find yourself on with the wars wreaking havoc throughout this lovely scenic town, you will find support and feel justified in your opinion. I knew Rowling would not disappoint when I excitedly located this gem at a thrift store in my own lovely little town.


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