Sharing thoughts on a novel by J.K.Rowling is invariably hard if you’re not going to bring up a certain wizard. After producing such a prestigious collection of children (and adult’s) novels, it becomes impossible not to draw comparisons.
I will, however, resist. The Casual Vacancy is so far removed from Hogwarts that it’d be foolish to compare whether one is better than the other.
Pagford is the setting of this novel, and you initially get faced with a large event that has a ripple effect on all who live in the town. If you’re going to read The Casual Vacancy, it’s important not to expect a huge plot with lots of twists and turns. It’s still strangely addictive thought, following the lives and thoughts, secrets and lies of the individual inhabitants of the town.
I can’t tell too much about the plot without giving the novel away, but essentially something happens to a character in the novel in the first chapter. The novel then tracks the responses of a few individuals in the town – the daily struggles they face, the people they deal with, the emotions they feel going through the day-to-day slog of life. Although the subject matter is largely realistic, it really pulls on the nosy instinct most of us have. Humans are really fascinating, and I think everyone wonders at some point if others are like them, what it really is that we all think and do when we think nobody else is watching. Whilst it’s a book about life it covers all aspects of it – the rich, the poor, sex, drugs, death, new life, scroungers, snobs, family ties and more.
It is by no means a dull novel, and I particularly enjoyed how if one character was thinking of another character, the next chapter would then shift to the perspective of that character. You quickly find yourself warming to certain characters and despising others – reading faster to find out what happens.
Originally I was worried it’d be a novel largely about politics, but it’s rather a wider look a society – what makes individuals tick. If you’re looking to read something new that’s unlike most novels then I’d recommend this. Rowling has a fantastic way of narrating, and her writing style is as addictive as it is detailed. The Casual Vacancy – I really would recommend.