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Old 09-30-2012, 12:34 AM
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Default 'The Casual Vacancy' by J.K. Rowling (Sa16+)

This thread was originally a Reading Challenge that cake.ninjak, Lissydove, Dainsie, BanaBatGirl, PhoenixRising, Tegz and Nabs participated in.

SPOILERS are allowed in this discussion.



Summary from Goodreads:
Quote:
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 faηade 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?

It has been several years since J.K. Rowling released The Casual Vacancy and it has received mixed reviews, to say the least. What do you think? Have you read it? Did you enjoy it?

Continue the discussion below!
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sa18+ is probably a good idea, though I can't say from first hand experience yet. I hear she drops the f-bomb quite a bit though. heh

Still waiting on amazon. 'Shipping Soon' it says... for a couple days now. They are punishing me because my card didn't work on Thursday.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:17 PM   #4 (permalink)



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So far the appropriateness seems fine, but of course I'm only on like page 8 I think the "worst" thus far is talking about .... mammary glands....
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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^ hahaha on the lady whose robe gaped open?

I'll be honest: It's kind of...boring so far. I'm on page 60 and it's just now getting into the conflict...I guess?
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I've just started reading it too, though it's a bit slow so far... all the character and setting introductions going on...
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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me too. I'm not finding it boring so much as British. /not meaning offense, I like British.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:30 AM   #8 (permalink)

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LOL it's British.

I only read the first chapter, so I don't have much to go off of, but in reading it, it SCREAMS JKR to me. For me, her writing is VERY evocative, even though it's simple. *shrug* I like it so far.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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She uses a lot of adjectives, that's for sure. She's quite consistent in that manner, and the narrative tone is very her as well. I know it's an adult book, with adult words, and adult content, but the tone is still her.

I wish I could read it without knowing it was by JKR.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I know what you mean, Nabs, because I have SUCH high expectations, and I'm still feeling a little disappointed by this effort of hers. It's as if she's set out to write a boring book.... maybe I just don't feel connected to all the married people, or all the Britishness? but the one part JKR does do well...

SPOILER!!: don't click this unless you're past idk, page 120
...is the part about Krystal Wheedon, and the Fields. She captures their accents SO well, still, it reminds me a bit of Hagrid. But I'll pass on the others. I am ridiculously bored by Samantha and Miles and Howard and Fats (I hate that kid); Shirley is somewhat amusing, with her Hospital Volunteering that is Oh So Important It Is Like a Royal Visit; and I like Andrew and Sukhvinder (sp?? I was almost crying when she was cutting); but the rest of the adults just make me.... sad. And bored.

They also make me never want to grow up to be a middle-aged, married adult with teenaged children. GOOD LORD NO.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I have just finished it there and MAN I am really pleasantly surprised and impressed and it very much surpassed my expectations GREATLY. When I read the synopsis I was extremely worried it was going to be boring and it wouldn't normally be the type of book I'd pick up to read.

I love all the different characters and how well developed they are.

I, unlike the majority it seems ( D: ), really enjoyed it from page one. It is VERY, VERY British and I really LOVE that about it. When the movie rights are bought, I can imagine it being so wonderfully BRITISH like 'Driving Lessons' was. Maybe I wasn't bored because I love the whole Britishness? haha.

I hope that when the story starts to really pick up you'll all enjoy it more <333
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:19 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BanaBatGirl View Post
I know what you mean, Nabs, because I have SUCH high expectations, and I'm still feeling a little disappointed by this effort of hers. It's as if she's set out to write a boring book.... maybe I just don't feel connected to all the married people, or all the Britishness? but the one part JKR does do well...

SPOILER!!: don't click this unless you're past idk, page 120
...is the part about Krystal Wheedon, and the Fields. She captures their accents SO well, still, it reminds me a bit of Hagrid. But I'll pass on the others. I am ridiculously bored by Samantha and Miles and Howard and Fats (I hate that kid); Shirley is somewhat amusing, with her Hospital Volunteering that is Oh So Important It Is Like a Royal Visit; and I like Andrew and Sukhvinder (sp?? I was almost crying when she was cutting); but the rest of the adults just make me.... sad. And bored.

They also make me never want to grow up to be a middle-aged, married adult with teenaged children. GOOD LORD NO.
I really don't mind the Britishness of it all, didn't even notice it except for the fact that it's a very small town thing, which is present is most books that I read anyway. But...

SPOILER!!: in response to that
I suppose it's the hopelessness of it all, how they seem to have a very bleak outlook on things, how contained it all is, etc. Unlike for younger children's books, there's always the hopeful future tone, but for these characters, they've pretty much given in to the fact that this is it.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:31 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Finished it on Saturday. Ended kind of how I hoped it would have! Will be worth a re-read later on, I think.


SPOILER!!: contains spoils about it all, durrrr
Yes! Yes, Nabs, that was it. Samantha was the one that was the most hopeless, maybe, because she DID seem like she had given up. The others.. were content with their life... mostly... I dunno. I keep having thoughts on this book and will probably have better thoughts later.

As for the end of the book: I was glad it had a Shakespearean-like-tragedy ending. I was wanting everyone to die (or at least all the characters I didn't like) but you know, as long as the few deaths/incidents had an impact on the town, then there's still hope for them to realize they need to change their ways.

I really really really really really wish Simon Price would have died. Monster. He's my least favorite out of ALL of Pagford.
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I just finished it but it's late and I can't order my thoughts into something coherent or meaningful at the moment. But. I will say that by the end I loved it. At first I was kind of thrown by the language - not because swearing in any way bothers me - but just knowing it was coming from J.K... it was odd and took me a while to get use to. Any other author and I don't think it would have had that effect on me.

Like others I thought it took a little while for the story to really pick up, but as I read I felt myself being pulled in more and more and becoming more invested. Even though it was so different thematically, her simple yet distinctive descriptive writing style was easily recognisable. I think the way that she was able to tell a story so well and believably from so many vastly different people’s perspectives was awesome. Definitely worth the read!
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:34 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Ok, so long story short I cancelled my order with amazon and put my name on the library hold list ages ago. I *just* literally got the book the other day and just started reading.

First impressions are I see exactly what others are saying about it being very British. I like that. I'm not sure I would say if I picked up the book without seeing the author that I would guess this is JKR, but despite this not being a typical story I would pick up, her style is keeping me. Her descriptions and setting the tone are all there. So far I don't see any likable people in this town.... That's good, she's doing a good job showing the flaws of the characters.

Also my book.... smells. I dunno. It reminds me of patchouli. Either I will finish the book or have an allergic reaction. I'm not sure yet.

Oh and I found an empty Snickers wrapper in the middle of it. Now I am hungry.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:00 AM   #16 (permalink)

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I can FINALLY get started on this book now that I'm done with Storm of Swords. Will offer input as soon as I've read a significant chunk.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:04 AM   #17 (permalink)

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Okay so I'm about ~150 pages into this book and yep...it feels very British. It took me a REALLY long time to figure out who everyone was and how they related and such, but now that I'm getting a better feel for it, I like this story a lot. It's very interesting and I hate almost all the characters (sort of like real life!). I still have no clue what the plot is, but I like learning about the Pagfordians.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:39 PM   #18 (permalink)

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Triple post DAWGz.

Just finished. I am in awe. I absolutely loved this book. While I was reading it, I really FELT what the characters felt. I was angry when they were, I was sympathetic, etc. etc. I really felt like I was IN their world, not just transported there or watching from the outside...I seriously can barely formulate ideas right now.

This is a great one, and it's unfortunate that people won't realize it because they'll be expecting another Harry Potter. But it was fantastic.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:24 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Okay, I finished it last night and am left with mixed feelings. I suppose they're good feelings, as in I liked and enjoyed the book and the writing, however I hated, was disgusted with, and really disappointed in some of the characters and what they had done. But at the same time, I also really connected with the characters' emotions, which I suppose, at the end of the day is what it all comes down to.

I'd have to say, it was pretty darned good, but you'll most likely have these mixed emotions too.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:33 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The Sweetest Thing Lissy De Vil

I finished the book without any serious medical issues on my part, just hadn't gotten around to post a reaction.

I completely agree with having the mixed emotions at the end of this book. For me there as a mix of being sad and feeling there was some hope and a bit gained for some of the people involved at the end, i.e. some good did come out of the bad things that happened. As Nabs said, I felt there were some characters that were truly horrible. I didn't like them, but I think JKR did a great job describing the characters in all their human weaknesses. This is how people really are. I also really enjoyed how she made the connections between all of these people and showed you their points of view. Well done.

I admit I would have been unlikely to pick up this book if JKR's name wasn't on it, but I am glad I did. It's unfortunate that it is getting bad press from people unable to disconnect from the HP series. If she had written this under a different name, perhaps some of the reviews would have gone better for her.
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Old 01-03-2020, 06:15 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Just wanted to comment in here that I watched the HBO version of this, and it was much better than the book. But in hindsight, I also watched Broadchurch and it reminded me of The Casual Vacancy at times, so if anyone is interested in these muted dramas... there's a recommendation for you!

Wondering if anyone has recently read or re-read this? I like her Cormoran Strike books a lot better.
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Old 01-10-2020, 03:05 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I really wanted to see the HBO version of this book but I don't have HBO. I am glad to know that it was good though!

I agree. I like Cormoran Strike series a lot better than this one. The Casual Vacancy can be convoluted at times and jumps from character to character so much it can be hard to keep up. I was also very upset with the ending...but I also don't like sad endings.
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