Rowling, J. K.
If you asked me what this book is about five times during the course of reading it, I probably would have given five different answers. It features a dozen different characters, all linked by a man who dies in the first chapter. As the book progresses you learn to hate some of them, and then they redeem themselves unexpectedly. On its face it appears to be just a book about a small town filling an empty seat on council, but it becomes much more than that. It is written in Rowling's classic 'style' and 'voice' but is far from Harry Potter for Grown-Ups. There's grit here. Worth the read, but I struggled to keep track of the characters through the first third. It doesn't have the most 'satisfactory' ending, but that's not required, in my opinion.
Jackie (Hespeler Library)
I have read and enjoyed some Harry Potter and have listened to " Silkworm" which is a murder mystery. So I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up a "Casual Vacancy". In fact I didn't even know what the title meant. I means that there is an opening on Council if a City Councillor dies while in office.When the most popular politician on council suddenly dies, any number of people want to fill his shoes. This is a book about the people who are considering running for office while their teenage children retaliate by hacking into the Council website and telling the "truth" about their parents skills and motivations. The consequences are dire. I found it to be a gripping, darkly funny, poignant and a good study of the minds of some of the characters. Quite an original story!
Angela Caretta (Staff) (Hespeler Library)
Overall I was impressed with the writing of this novel. I found from the beginning that the characters were hard to like, but Rowling keeps you interested in the fate of the community and its members, enough that I kept reading until the end. Harry Potter fans are bound to be disappointed in this novel as it is completely different that her children’s work, but that should have been expected from all of her comments about it. If you enjoy a tragic comedy full of political pettiness, issues around class, race and poverty with many characters that make you grit your teeth in frustration, you might appreciate this book even if you didn’t like Harry Potter.
Amy W. (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)