The Casual Vacancy
Little Brown, 2012
It may be hard to write a review of The Casual Vacancy without making any reference to Harry Potter. After all, both can be summarized with teenagers and their parents fighting for the control of a society.
The argument couldn’t be more interesting – as the publisher house decided to market it, a big novel about a small town. Its own complexity makes it to never stop – although it can be slow sometimes, its the same inertia of the characters that makes them to always be changing. There is a new secret revealed with each page, a new plan ready to be discovered in each dialogue.
Rowling had the pleasure of write about what She wanted. This time, no editor told her to avoid insults, or reference to pop culture (Johnny Depp, Rihanna, Facebook and more). This time, She could write about social injustice, discrimination, and the life of the poor. Through the eyes of teenagers, and through the eyes of the people who rule societies, even the small ones.
Discussions between those who read it will focus on the final pages of the book – which, without doubt, will divide readers into two groups. In my opinion, all the flaws that you can find at the end don’t overshadow the good writing, the devious plot and the realistic characters that J.K. Rowling enjoyed writing in her first novel for adults.