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  • The Casual Vacancy

  • Written by: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrated by: Tom Hollander
  • Length: 17 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (76 ratings)

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The Casual Vacancy

Written by: J.K. Rowling
Narrated by: Tom Hollander
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Publisher's Summary

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, 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 at 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?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking, and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults.

©2012 J.K. Rowling (P)2012 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about The Casual Vacancy

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliantly written characters

If plot is your thing, this is probably not the book for you. If beautifully drawn, multi-dimensional characters loaded with generosity, insight, patience, pettiness, brutality and failure is what you like in a rollicking good story, read this. Gorgeously written; so many moments of resonance where the author exquisitely captures that very human moment or experience we all know. Tom Hollander is pure genius. Completely captivating.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointed with this book.

The narrator was good and I liked his pace and cadence. His female voices were sometimes a little grating and especially the teenage girl, Crystal. Her presentation reminded me of a character (Vicky Pollard) from Little Britain.
The story over all was just ok. The characters took a long time to become familiar because they were not well developed and considering there were so many of them it was confusing for the first third of the book. Not a single character in the book had any redeeming qualities and it seemed like a contrived look at life and its harsh realities. Because the characters were hard to understand and impossible to relate to, it made this exploration of a town and its characters inauthentic. It is a story told for shock value and not authenticity.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Heartbreaking, and beautifully written

TRIGGER WARNING: Book makes detailed reference to child rape, abuse and there’s brief mention of incest.

The book is well written, the characters and plot are thoughtfully developed and you really get pulled in to the story. In the beginning, I felt I had to really pay attention because there were so many characters introduced and it was easy to lose track of who’s who, but you quickly become familiar with everyone. And you can’t help but to become attached to some of the characters and wish them well, and dislike other characters and hope they get what’s coming!

It’s a really good book; it touches on the struggles and issues of lower-class, at-risk individuals and on the complicated relationships between parents and their children, spouses, and colleagues. I both enjoyed it and hated it. In the end, I wish I had never listened to it because it left me feeling sad.
[*SPOILER ALERT*] I kept listening, and waiting (hoping) everything would work out in the end. I was looking forward to a plot twist that made everything alright. But there was none. The ending was sad. The story felt unfinished. I wish it had ended differently; on a happy note. With those who struggled finally getting a break, and those spiteful, petty characters realizing there’s more to life. It’s just fiction, I know, but it really struck a chord with me.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Character driven excellence

I have listened to this book 5 times and been carried away by the story! The narrator is one of my favourite storytellers.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Want to get Depressed?

Typical Rowling: well-written with a negative take on people.
Every single one of the characters showed themselves poorly.
Not one glimmer of hope.
Fortunately, she turned next to detective fiction where there was a balance of ‘ain’t it awful’ with the heroism people sometimes display.
This writer has a dark side. If you’re an empathetic reader, I’d skip this one.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not the story I expected but one I enjoyed!

At first, I thought that someone in this village had to be genuinely happy, if only to provide a contrast! Then I thought of my life growing up in a rural town and couldn't think of anyone who lived in that blythe state. So maybe this is closer to reality than I would like to think and definitely makes the case for mental health support for everyone. A good story with strong characters.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

All characters, no plot

I love the character development and attention to detail - the town and people in it are really brought to life. However, there is very little plot and it’s very slow. I honestly found it boring, with such a slow plot. It just felt like a lot of character development that didn’t have a real purpose. There were some interesting parts near the end, but I was just expecting more.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Way too long for the story line!

The story had no peaks and lows, it was all lows, and predictably depressing, very dull listening and way too long!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Powerful

I read the print version years ago and having run out of sufficiently gripping audiobooks to listen to I saw that this Rowling was on offer. What a great experience this audiobook provides!
Superb writing coupled with an inspired performance by Tom Hollander.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Worth the slow start

struggled to get into it, but once I had finished the first 6 chapters I was hooked. I have never read a book that captures the complexities of all human existence like this one. I couldn't stop talking about it once I was finished.

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