The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s most looked-forward-to book, aside from books 2 through 7 of the Harry Potter series, and is her first book to have absolutely nothing to do with Harry Potter, or that universe.
On page two, the incident that sparks the casual vacancy happens: A councilor of a small British town dies.
This sparks a gigantic grab for the now-vacated seat. One group wants someone who is “Pro-Fields” to get it, while another group wants someone that is against the Fields to get it.
Just what is the Fields and why should anyone care?
The Fields is the “rough part of town” where just about everyone is an addict of some type, or will most likely be one in the future. Barry, the late councilor was from the Fields and therefore a Pro-Fields kind of guy.
There’s a bit of political back and forth over which township the Fields actually belongs to. It was created by a town near Pagford, but was pretty much given to Pagford over the years.
The story bounces between the happenings of the adults and the happenings of the kids. As to which group is the main group, that’s up to the reader’s speculation. For me, it seems as though the kids are the main characters, though the amount of characterization found in the adults and the children is breathtakingly marvelous. You really feel for their plights. Well, most of their plights.
One thing I thought was a bit off was Barry’s family, the ones hit the hardest by his death are the characters that are mentioned the least. It’s as if no one cares what happens to them. They pop up here and there, but they aren’t even minor characters.
This is as far from Harry Potter as you can get. I’m sure that Rowling couldn’t wait until she could write something that wasn’t “magical” to show people that she could write as well as anyone else could. In my opinion, she suffers from Kingitis, that is, an inflammation of words. On one hand, wordiness makes the world more alive, but it also makes the reading a bit of a chore.
After reading this the first thought that came to mind was, I wonder what Harry, Hermione, and Ron were up to when they weren’t actively being written about.