pyrajane’s review #43: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
I managed to avoid all spoilers about this book. I refused to read any interviews, book reviews, or any other posts about what people thought. I didn’t look at any ratings, other than to note that it’s averaging 3.4 out of 5 on Goodreads.
The main reason (maybe the only reason) I read this was because J.K. Rowling wrote it. Unless it showed up on a ton of OMFG YOU GUYS HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!! lists, it wouldn’t have appeared on my radar. I don’t know how to categorize this type of book. I guess it’s realistic fiction, and maybe I don’t read much of that. Looking at this year’s CBR, the only two fiction books like this I see are The English Major by Jim Harrison and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler. Everything else has a twinge of faerie or fantasy or alternate reality, or historical fiction with the author’s own bias. But this book was written by Rowling, so here we are.
One way a casual vacancy happens is when a current council member dies. The seat must be filled by special election, unless the remaining council members are able to appoint someone through majority. Our story starts with Barry Fairbrother dying from an aneurysm and creating a casual vacancy.
All the joys of small town politics pour over the pages, heavily laced with small town gossip. It quickly becomes apparent that there’s going to be a fight and an election will have to be held. But that’s not what this book is about.
And it’s delightful when you realize this.