13 October, 2012

The Casual Vacancy

Title: The Casual Vacancy
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Kindle

From Goodreads: 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 fa├žade 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?

What I thought: I was thrilled to recieved my pre ordered copy of this book. I in no way expected it to be another Harry Potter, but one of the things I loved about the Potter books were that they were written by someone who could actually write! I am a big believer in the best idea in the hands of a bad writer will result in a bad book. Potter was not only a brilliant idea, Rowling knows her craft and hooks the reader not just with her ideas, but her ability to bring them to life on the page. And that's what I was looking for here - good writing. I'm a big fan of writers who step outside of what they are known for. Too often I find writers who write one genre get boring, repetative and give me a feeling of haven't-I-read-this-before? So I was excited to find out not only was Rowling stepping away from children's books, but also away from fantasy. I was also terrified! What if she didn't pull it off? What if she wasn't versitle enough to translate her skills? What if I hated it? What I am pleased to say is she did pull it off - and well! The book is no Harry Potter, but then again, for I think Potter may be a once in a life time thing. I don't think she will ever write something so engrossing again (although I will be more than happy to be proved wrong!). But The Casual Vacancy is good. The writing is tight and just as expressive as Potter. Once again her ability to breath life into characters is a real strength - in fact the true strength of this book is it's characters. The Casual Vacancy is a character driven book. The reactions and the emotions of the characters is what keeps you reading. It's real and gritty. The characters are not all likeable, they don't all fall neatly onto the side of good or evil. What they are is believable, flawed, struggling with their own demons and determined to live their lives they way they feel they have a right to. I've heard some people have had issues with the swearing and sex in the book, but I can't see what the fuss is about. It's no worse than you get in a lot of books and the reality is people swear and have sex. It's not out of place and it's not gratuitous, it just is. Having read The Casual Vacancy, I look forward to more adult fiction from Rowling. I believe she is a writer who is here to stay.

 Challenges: Ebook Challenge