The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling was our read for the March meeting and a mixed bag of reviews from the Book Club members. Some members felt disgruntled about the length of the book and felt it was quite indulgent of the author to write this length, when really it could have been cut in half. More so because of the topic of the novel being just re-election to a parish council and didn’t feel this warranted so many words!
The language of the book was felt to be inserted into the book for effect and wasn’t done too well.
When we started to analyse the characters, Barry was perhaps the only decent person in the whole village and he was the one that died very early on. What was interesting though was how people reacted in different ways to his death. Some where distraught, others thought it was their chance to get his place on the parish council. We felt that this was an honest reflection on how people would react in this situation.
There was also the traditional sub divide of areas and we thought at times that the characters fell into quite a stereo type of the traditional poor versus rich people.
The only character that any one felt any sympathy for was Krystal, the girl who was desperately trying to better herself, although we thought her untimely death was a bit over the top. It was also interesting that prior to her brother drowning, so many adults passed him by and because of who he was, they chose to ignore the fact that a child so young was wandering around near the river.
The overall consensus was that the book was quite readable, even though some thought it was a little over ambitious for an author that is used to writing about wizards . It was suggested that some authors don’t transfer well to other genres, but I feel that Rowling is just trying to find her feet after the success of Harry Potter.