J.K. Rowling’s latest is not her greatest
By Livia Turnbull, Humour Editor
For many of us, J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series was a huge part of our childhoods. However, five years after the release of the last Potter book, Rowling has decided to write something completely different: a book tailored towards adults, about a small, mundane British town and the people living in it.
There’s nothing magical in the small town of Pagford and its slummy outskirts, the Fields. The Casual Vacancy (released September 27) is just a look into the lives of a town full of unlikeable, yet human people; it’s a surprisingly straightforward social commentary.
When popular parish councilor Barry Fairbrother suddenly dies of a cerebral hemorrhage, his seat is left vacant on the city council. Two opposing men rush to be elected for his position, and this sudden election causes the town to be at odds with each other. Meanwhile, there is a big debate surrounding Pagford on what is to be done with the Fields, where all the impoverished people live. All it seems the towns’ patrons can agree on is that Barry Fairbrother was the glue holding the two sections of Pagford together.
This is not a plot-heavy story; instead, The Casual Vacancy is more of a character study. Rowling does a good job of making you reconsider your opinions on certain characters, but every character’s morality is grey, and by the end of the book you don’t know who to cheer for.
Rowling tries her hardest to make a memorable novel, but the characters are not likely to leave an impression on you by the time you close the back cover. The Casual Vacancy, despite all the hype, is forgettable. Although well written and with nothing outstandingly awful about it, the book does suffer from being too dull.