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The Casual Vacancy


Multiple characters in “The Casual Vacancy” seem envious of others’ lives and what they represent: Gavin of Barry, Andrew of Fats, Sukhvinder of her siblings, Krystal of Nana Cath. What illusions were they living under, and how were they born out?

This post and attendant comments will wrap-up our conversation about J.K. Rowling’s first non-HP, adult novel. Thanks for great discussion!

Avoidable chain reaction?

Barry Fairbrother’s death set off a chain reaction of events in Pagford. How much, if any, of the resulting events do you suppose would have happened if Barry had not died?

Character perspective

Throughout “The Casual Vacancy,” Rowling shifts perspective among her core characters, often in mid-chapter and at times with very little forewarning. Several reviewers and readers have commented that they believe Rowling’s writing to be strongest when writing from the teenagers’ points of view. Do you agree? Which character’s perspective did you enjoy the most? Who do you wish we’d heard from more often?

We aren’t at Hogwarts anymore…

Welcome to the November DeacsRead discussion of The Casual Vacancy! As any Potterhead already knows, J.K. Rowling’s first post-Harry Potter novel is a departure from both YA and fantasy. In her move to adult literature, Rowling introduces us to the inhabitants of Pagford, a small town in the West Country of England, that has been rocked by the sudden death of a member of the town’s council. If you have already begun reading, you know that as the town reacts to his death and scrambles to fill an open council seat, we most definitely aren’t at Hogwarts anymore.

Before we launch into the discussion of The Casual Vacancy, I am curious to know your thoughts about Rowling’s move into adult literature. Are you surprised, disappointed, heartened? Do you think these are necessary shifts in audience and genre, given the unprecedented success of Harry Potter, or simply an attempt to prove her career as a literary author, no longer secured by the liberties granted storytellers writing of a made-up world? Do you harbor hopes that one day she may return to the world of wizards, or do you wish the Harry Potter series to stand as is? I look forward to reading your thoughts, and to sharing my own!