The Casual Vacancy, by J.K Rowling

Am I the only person to have thoroughly enjoyed reading The Casual Vacancy? Where did all the negative press on this, J. K Rowling’s the first adult novel, come from? So much hype before the book’s release centred around whether the master storyteller could handle the rigors of an adult novel. Could Rowling make the leap from young-adult novelist to the other? Well for me The Casual Vacancy is an unqualified success…

Christmas Tidings 005

Rowling takes the same meticulous planning with which she built Hogwarts and applies it to the town of Pagford, where a sudden death has left a vacancy on the town council, which is locked in a struggle over a low-income housing project.

The magic of the read lies in its ever-shifting point of view which constantly weaves together issues of class and race and sexuality between the townsfolk. This novel is filled with a variety of people who are self-absorbed, small-minded, snobbish and judgmental. To me, their personal tales are engaging precisely because they are banality personified. The folk of Pagford and its adjoining projects, The Fields, represent the kaleidoscopic, deeply moving machinations of a microcosm that is both grand and petty at once, and in which every character is flawed, frail and beautiful.

Rowling excels in developing her characters deeply. Moreover, she takes pains to interlock each relationship with multi-leveled revelations. Counter naratives kept me turning page after page. Clearly I was hooked.

Christmas Tidings 003

Shirley on her daugher-in-law Samantha (Miles, her son’s, wife), …she always tossed a dart, hidden in a feathery flourish, at her daughter-in-law…

Tessa on her husband Colin (and Cubby, to their son Stuart and his best school friend),Colin had a habit of making sweeping judgements based on first impressions, on single actions. He never seemed to grasp the immense mutability of human nature, nor to appreciate that behind every nondescript face lay a wild and unique hinterland like his own…

Not surprisingly, The Casual Vacancy is being made into a BBC series, one in which Rowling will be closely involved. I know someone who will ask for the Box Set come 2014!!

Christmas Tidings 004


1 Response to The Casual Vacancy, by J.K Rowling

Leave a Reply