On the outside, Pagford is everything an English country town should be, but when Barry Fairbrother dies, and a seat becomes vacant on the parish council, what follows is a heavily contested election, one that has far reaching consequences for a great many people. Pagford should be the perfect country town, but it is far from it.
I did in fact read this book last year but I have only just got around to reviewing it. That is by no means a reflection on the book itself, but rather on my scatter-brain and poor time management :-) And so to my review…
This isn’t the sort of book I usually read, but a few weeks after watching the TV adaptation last year, I found a copy by chance in a charity bookshop and decided to give it a go.
I found this book to be a challenging and yet compelling read, although I can’t put my finger on why. Perhaps it has something to do with the way JK Rowling manages to portray such vivid characters? I’m not sure. What I do know is that I did not like a great many of them. Perhaps they were just too real, too human, too vivid, and it is hard to read in such stark terms of some of the difficulties / frustrations / limitations some people face.
One character that stood out amongst the rest was of course, Krystal, but a number of the other younger characters also made an impression.
It is a dark story but one that is extremely well-written. The social commentary of the book was very interesting, and reminded me in a way of Charles Dickens. The gulf between the have’s and the have not’s is vast, and each and every character has their own problems; some of their own making, but more often than not they are the product of other people and their personal agendas (or that is how they are perceived).
I can’t imagine that this is a book that I will read again, and yet the stories of the characters tend to linger with you long after the book has been finished. I can’t say that I enjoyed reading The Casual Vacancy, but I do wonder if that’s the point. It’s supposed to make you think…