‘He never seemed to grasp the immense mutability of human nature, nor to appreciate that behind every nondescript face lay a wild and unique hinterland like his own.’ – J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy
I quite adore J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. This was my second read, and it was just as good as the first. The thing about Rowling’s writing is that it is so immersive, it very much brings you in, as though you are really sitting there, with a warm cup of tea before you, chatting to all the inhabitants of Pagford, the fictional village in which the novel is set. The story is definitely driven on by its characters, of which there are very many; their histories, their sorrows, their joys, their jealousies and resentments and their comforts and delights.
The story jumps from one character to the next, always following the events surrounding the death of Barry Fairbrother, who’s seat on the Parish Council has become available, with a resulting local election. Central to the novel is the fate of Krystal Weedon, a sixteen year old ‘problem-child’ from the wrong side of town, who no one quite knows what to do with.
It is a story of right and wrong, of love and lies, resentment and unrequited love. Of what lies behind the facade. For all it’s passionate feelings and extreme events though, it is a rather mellow and often pleasant novel, one you can really sit with, reading steadily on about the various fates within the one, big story.