The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling

The Casual VacancyI didn’t know what to expect from this, the first ‘adult’ offering from JK Rowling, but Harry Potter was always going to be a hard act to follow.

Being quite a thick hardback, I’ve been reading The Casual Vacancy at home and so it’s taken me almost three months to plough my way through so the question is: was it worth it?

A few days ago, I would have said no. I would have told you that the characters are almost universally unlikeable, very little of note happens and the hidden divisions and deep secrets are of little interest. I think I was expecting a kind of Hot Fuzz scenario and in this Rowling failed to deliver.

I would also have complained that the wit I’m so fond of in the Harry Potter series is missing from the book and that Rowling’s embrace of the nuances of the English language seems to have disappeared. To this point I hold true but seeing as this is a book for grown-ups I can understand why this has happened even if I’m not pleased about it.

However on the other point I have to capitulate. Having waded through nigh on 400 pages of petty, small village nonsense with a heavy heart, today I’ve been almost glued to the page. In a very short space of time a great deal happens, lives are changed forever  and the Pagford that emerges the other side is almost unrecognisable.

I’m not so converted that I’m going to claim that it’s a great book or tell you all to go out and read it immediately because the long slow part is too long and slow but if you’ve started it then make sure you finish because you deserve to make it to the end.

Just one other thing. A small bugbear of mine. I hate when authors write accented English. By that I mean someone has an accent so instead of saying: ‘How are you today?’ they say ‘ ‘Ow are yeh tehday?’. It drives me mad, I hated it in Harry Potter when Fleur was speaking and I loathed it here, amongst the citizens of the Fields. I don’t know why I hate it so much, I think it’s something to do with the way I like to create my own impression of the characters and if they have an accent I can add that myself thanks very much. Or possibly it really riled me here because the characters who spoke in this way were the poorer, council housed, unemployed junkies and I felt it was an unnecessary device to draw our attention to this fact.

Anyway I think that’s quite enough from me for today, I seem to have gone a bit overboard with the posting!


One response to “The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling

  1. Pingback: 2013 storified. | Books on the Tube

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