I have just finished reading The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I have only read one of the Harry Potter books as I am not really a fan of fantasy fiction, I read the first book so I would be able to talk about her writing with the kids at school.
I came to The Casual Vacancy basically as just another book to read and assumed it would be a good read after the success of all the Harry Potter books.
The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling’s first adult novel, is sometimes funny but yet it is a despairing novel. There is a teenager who self inflicts cuts on her arms and another commits suicide. There is a graphic discussion between two male characters about online pornography and the overall feeling is one of complete despair. As a reader you are hoping for a resolution to all the despair which is inherent in almost all the characters, of which there are many. Sometimes it is difficult to keep track of who is who?
The novel is set in the small village of Pagford, and the characters are all linked in some way. At the end of The Casual Vacancy, you are hoping for a resolution to all the despair but you will need to read it to find out if resolution does indeed take place.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though it is a bleak read in parts.
For an in depth review you can find one at The Guardian, it also includes an interview with Rowling