Not-so-casual…Casual Vacancy


It’s hard to think of J.K Rowling writing about anything else than the magical wizard world of Harry Potter. We were crushed when that era ended.

And then we were told that she was venturing into the world of adults (and adultery?!) in Casual Vacancy.

And our thought was “blimey!” (sorry, couldn’t resist Ron Wesley’s signature remark).

While not exactly a page-turner for us, Casual Vacancy was more than a decent effort from Rowling, though we thought that some bits of the book were too far-stretched (in other words, it did bore us a bit) with too many lingering conversations and dialogues.

Towards the ending (don’t worry, no spoilers here) it felt like ‘watching’ a soap opera or telenovela, Rowling was so eager to cramp everything in it.

It actually had a promising, but dark start-off, with the death of the village parish councilman – hence a ‘vacancy’ to be filled for the post. As it happened, the village is full of gossip and scandalmongers, and the political and social impact left behind by the death of Barry Fairbrother revealed a lot more than what the villagers bargained for.

But, the black comedy that made up Casual Vacancy, with Rowling’s move in using a lot (and yes, there were a lot) of variety for the ‘cursing’ vocabulary, added with scandalous and taboo issues like teenage sexuality, drugs, rape among many,  had at times gotten just a little bit way too much for us to handle.

No, not because we were too naïve to think that these things don’t happen in real world; but it was rather too boring to be talked about again and again, as if we don’t already have enough of them.

Perhaps, it was Rowling’s way to unleash her inner, deepest thoughts – what she couldn’t really write in the Harry Potter series, she put them in Casual Vacancy. There are certainly no limitations or restrictions now.

We know that it is unfair to keep comparing Casual Vacancy to the Harry Potter series, on how Rowling managed to work her charms in the latter, but not able to leave such ‘magical’ impact on the former – but we just couldn’t help it.

Although the book will definitely please some of her fans, we think that a lot more will be dismayed by it. Having said that however, we would still wait, and keep our fingers crossed for more Rowling’s magic.

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