You know you’ve enjoyed a book when the author manages to make it feel a whole lot shorter that the 500-page epic that’s weighed down your handbag for a week and a half.
I set out with trepidation considering not only the questionable reviews, but the pigeon-hole Ms. Rowling seems to be shunted into. However, I found The Casual Vacancy to hold surprising dramatic intrigue. It’s a novel about a small town; a story of its characters and politics, its tensions and frustrations. I found myself genuinely interested in what the people of Pagford were up against and how their choices would carry them forward.
It’s not a light and fluffy novel: some parts made me cringe and wince and read with only one eye. And at those moments it was easy to wonder whether the author was intentionally dropping in profanities to show that she can achieve something more than a YA story on wizards and magic. On the other hand, if the author was unknown and I was unfamiliar with previous work, would she still be judged in this way?
Rambling reviews aside, The Casual Vacancy is engrossing and readable. Highly recommend.