Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review: The Casual Vacancy

I wholeheartedly admit, I've never read any of the Harry Potter books by J.K Rowling. So when I received her first adult novel as a birthday gift, I was curious to find out for myself, her writing style. I'd have to say she is quite a good storyteller. She is very descriptive and details oriented. 

The story is set in a supposedly idyllic English suburban town named Pagford which is populated by dysfunctional characters.  Most of them are not your typical model citizens of the world.  Gossips, intrigues and general unpleasant vibes fester in Pagford. A community that must come together as a casual vacancy occurs from the death of a councilman.  There is a mixture of dramatic moments dealing with heavy issues like small town politics, premarital sex, drugs use, division of social class standing, the disparity between the haves and the havenots.  Along with tinges of tragedy, rude awakenings and a fitting ending that brings about much needed closure.

It begins with a good start. The introduction of the myriad of characters was quite elaborate. Dwelling into the inner psyche of each of them, exposing their thoughts and their fears quite eloquently.   The middle part seemed to drag on forever with me losing a bit of interest as it got quite dull and predictable.   Then once the hotly contested election was over and they got themselves a replacement to the vacancy, things picked up quite a bit.  In the last 100 pages of the novel, one dramatic event led to a series of occurrences that grab you back to your senses. Some of them were expected, while others I didn't see coming. 

Overall, I'd say J.K Rowling realistically captured the daily grind of life in a small town. She didn't shy away from the harsh truth and was quite bluntly honest in presenting her wide array of  characters.  It is certainly a well written piece of storytelling.  A book I might not be compiled to buy given the boring setting but I still believe it was a good read.

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