Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Casual Vacancy

I know, I'm late. The world has already stood up, said all it's got to say and sat back down again.

I wasn't really going to read this. When I heard about J.K.Rowling writing another novel, a judgmental voice inside me went 'Oh, here we go again.' Somehow I felt it was a betrayal to Harry Potter- like she didn't think the legendary series were perfect and enough for her writing career. There was another voice inside- squeakier and kinder- that kept reminding me of my curiosity. Then it was out, and people were reading it, and not liking it, and the judgmental voice felt fed and satisfied. 'That's what she gets for turning away from her gold mine to dig from another.'

So when a phone call from the university's library called me to declare that my request purchase has been made and my book's ready to be picked, it took a few seconds to recall what they were talking about. I was at the library counter in the blink-of-an-eye, telling everyone "I never really expected them to buy it" but secretly over-joyed.

What it's mainly about
A fictional town in England buzzing with drama behind a seemingly-peaceful cover, its residents dealing with issues that places all around deal with- local government politics, social class issues, death, broken families, poverty, racism, drug-abuse, et cetera et cetera

What was so good about it

  • Writing: Distinctly Rowling, with simple sentences well-worded, un-opiniated leaving judgement to readers, witty or poignant as fitting to the scene.
  • Characters: Realistic. 
  • Plot: Begins with a climax, and ends in one, with a very slow-paced story in between. Many reviews mentioned that the story dragged on, but I feel the sluggishness of the main body of the story gave the characters time to develop and allowed Rowling to delve on to each character's relevant past and inner struggles. 
  • Message: Without giving away any detail for fear of accidental spoilers, the way the novel ended with all the characters' separate stories just SO perfectly weaved together demonstrated very neatly how the members of a close-knit society impact each other's lives in such direct ways, and leaves no doubt in the reader's mind the main message of the novel: we are responsible for each other. 
What was not so good about it
  • Filled to the brim with colourful language and dirty scenes
  • That it was by JK Rowling. It's not fair to expect another magical world that sweeps you away. I find it interesting how she first wrote a fantasy story where the good ultimately prevails, and then wrote an adult novel showcasing our real world, where- *oops*
Overall, four on five stars to The Casual Vacancy. Joanne Rowling, I'm "your girl through and through".

(Next read: Divergent by Veronica Roth)




21 comments:

  1. Divergent is not a great book. I mean it's an OK read don't get me wrong... to pass time away and get caught in a weird world similar to Panem in Hunger Games. I especially like 4's and Tris or whatever her face is relationship, and her relationship with her friends .. but the book just didn't have a great ending. Although the begining to mid-almost end was pretty good. I"m not sure if its sequels came out yet or its in the making but it hints so badly to one lol. I feel the author coudl've made a bang out of the ending and leave us with killer suspense than "Oh.......... next book I guess."

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    1. I think the sequel 'Insurgent' is out. I know what you're trying to say: there's a way of making a first-book in a series appear a book in itself. Just started on Divergent- let's see if we will share an opinion. :)

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  2. This review is very timely :) I won the book from Mensis Liber on twitter (Yay!). I'm still waiting for it but your review inflated my curiosity all the more. Thanks :)

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    1. Wow, I would automatically love any book that I won for free!

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  3. I'm halfway through The Casual Vacancy, and I'm enjoying it! I don't think it's fair to blast it just because it's not like Harry Potter, because she made it clear from the start that it would be completely different. The only thing that matters is that it's written beautifully, and she really has a knack for getting into each of the character's minds.
    I'm glad you enjoyed it in the end :)

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    1. She does, and I agree, it's meant for an entirely different audience.

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  4. I'm going to start on it now, let's see how it pans out!
    I'm really excited though, after Harry Potter I mean.:)

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  5. I kind of feel the same way you did. J.K. Rowling is simply Harry Potter and nothing more to me. I know that's not fair to her, but I feel I would be betraying HP if I read anything unrelated to him written by Rowling. I know. I'm shallow.

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    1. Haha I felt the same, but trust me, you should it read it first and then judge!

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  6. Now, of course, I have to read it! But will get it at the library, not buy it like I bought all the Harry Potter books.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it's not that level of special.

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  7. Sounds very interesting. Seeing as you are a Potter fan, I hear she'll be writing another one.

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  8. I too will read this some day. I had the same preconceived notions about her new book, but if you can overcome them and find a pleasant read in it - despite the colourful language and dirty scenes - I'm sure I can too ^^

    Thanks for the non-spoiler, well-reasoned review (:

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    1. Thank you. I hope you read and like it :)

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  9. I saw this book in one of the book stores in Dubai Mall and you are right I was not much attracted by the book but the writer's name built a curiosity in me to at least try it once. Thanks for your reviews will surely read this :)

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    1. I wonder what people's reactions would be if it wasn't by JK Rowling but an unknown new writer? :P

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  10. I haven't read this either, and I am nervous about it for the adult theme... I will get to it, eventually. Thank you for posting your thoughts!

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  11. Our reviews are so similar! I love yours!

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