March is coming to an end which means its time to review and discuss The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling.
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?
When it was announced that JK Rowling was coming out with a new book, comparisons with the Harry Potter series were inevitable. No matter how many times, and in how many interviews, Jo insisted over and over again that this was completely different.
I found the characterization in this book simply mind-blowing. Each and every one of the characters is so very real. Through the course of the book, they are all ripped apart, dissected with unflinching honesty and laid bare for the readers to see.
I have heard people say that the characters in this book are not relatable at all, what are your thoughts on that? Personally I disagree. Which one of us hasn’t felt like a victim of the circumstances – hopeless, unloved, desperate, bullied, frustrated, at the end of our tether – at some point in our lives? I do think Rowling has expertly managed to capture and show the best and the worst of human behavior in the book.
I knew from the get-go that this book would not be for everyone. I’m really glad that Rowling has started something new and given us some more of her amazing writing.
A friend of mine passed on some great discussion questions I wanted to ask you guys. Please comment below with your thoughts.
1. Before reading, did you have certain expectations for this book based on the Harry Potter series? If so, does The Casual Vacancy meet these expectations?
2. Which storyline with which characters is your favorite and why? Least favorite?
3. The book has more than 30 main characters. Did you have trouble keeping them and storylines in order?
4. Is the ending satisfying? Does Rowling tie up loose ends or does she leave some things unanswered?