Wednesday, December 19, 2012
The Casual Vacancy- J K Rowling
I can sum this book up in one word: Blech. Rowling succeeded at one thing- this book is nothing like her Harry Potter series. I didn't expect it to be and was quite hopeful when I heard it described as dark humor. There was plenty of darkness, but very little humor.
The premise is that a man drops dead unexpectedly and leaves a vacancy on his town council. The surviving councillors are engaged in a war for supremacy for their group's views while trying to get a replacement. The story focuses on their internal warfare and the crumbling relationships with their children, class war, and how people cope with loss.
There wasn't a single likeable character in the book. Not even the teenagers were tolerable. I was slightly amused at them taking metaphorical potshots at the adults around them, but overall, this thing left me cold. One character is vaguely interesting- the sterotypical bad girl who has a horrible family life but is recognized by an adult as a diamond in the rough. The problem is that the adult in this case drops dead at the beginning of the book, nobody else cares enough about this girl to try to keep her going, and she winds up committing suicide at the end.
I'd like to thank J K Rowling for one thing. It's said that all fiction has a base in fact. If life in a British village is that dismal, with politics that pervasive, I am changing my future retirement plans to live in a flat in London!