Barry Fairbrother is in his early forties, and has a seat on the parish council in the idyllic town of Pagford. Barry suddenly dies, leaving a vacant seat on the council. The empty seat becomes a catalyst for all the issues that are hidden in the town. Conflicts between the rich and poor, parents and children, teachers and pupils. We learn that Pagford is not the perfect town it seems to be. The battle to win the election and claim the council seat has begun, the question is: who will survive the turmoil and claim the seat?
I found myself having conflicted feelings when I finished reading Casual Vacancy. I knew when I read the description, that it probably was not the type of story that would appeal to me. So, why did I read it? Because it was the first book written by J.K. Rowling for adults, and took place in a non-fantasy setting. I was perfectly aware it would be different from The Harry Potter series. I expected that from a good author. I wanted to see what her writing was like in a different setting. The conflict for me is: I did not like the story, but I think it was really well written.
Some of the issues I had with the book were: the plot moves forward very slowly, I did not really care about the characters, and I just could not get involved in the plot. Also, the language, while understandable might be difficult for some to understand, particularly Americans as many of the words are abbreviated, and there is also some British slang that is used. All of these issues by themselves might have been easy to get over, but the combination was too much for me to really get into the story.
Although I found myself uninterested in this book, I do admire the way Rowling writes her characters. They always seem very real to me. There is no perfect character. Everyone has their flaws. I always believe the characters she writes, and find their actions very plausible.
While this was not my favorite book, I think some people might like it. If you liked The Goldfinch, you will probably like this book.