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Original Essays | September 4, 2014

Edward E. Baptist: IMG The Two Bodies of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

My new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, is the story of two bodies. The first body was the new... Continue »
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The Casual Vacancy


The Casual Vacancy Cover

ISBN13: 9780316228534
ISBN10: 0316228532
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 23 comments:

Michele-Marie, January 5, 2013 (view all comments by Michele-Marie)
There are lots of characters, plots, and sub-plots in the book. It helped me to understand some of the social issues in Great Britain and how they are handled. Since I am involved in a lot of charitable organizations, it was interesting to see the difference in how some issues are handled in the UK compared to USA.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
ravensfan, January 4, 2013 (view all comments by ravensfan)
I've not read any of the Harry Potter books (I'm probably one of the 1% of the population who hasn't). I saw J.K. Rowling being interviewed by Charlie Rose and was struck by her intelligence, so I decided to read this book.

I was awestruck. The Casual Vacancy is about the town of Pagford, whose residents are in shock from the sudden death of one of their own, Barry Fairbrother. There are many characters intertwined in the plot, and I cared about every one of them, even those who are evil. We all have our flaws.
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S Morales, January 3, 2013 (view all comments by S Morales)
This was the first book I read by JK Rowling. It's well written and I could relate to, or know of someone like many of the characters in the book. I would recommend this book to others.
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Book Club Cheerleader, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Book Club Cheerleader)
J.K. Rowling is a master storyteller--and she has done it again!
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jsellman, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by jsellman)
I was captivated from the first page -- this is a character driven book and the characters are well-drawn, compelling, and complex. I think J K has a unique talent for capturing people's inner torments -- especially children and teens. Even unlikeable characters win your sympathy as you see their fears and desires and frustrations. I particularly loved Sooks and Tessa -- but I found myself rooting even for characters I didn't like. If only in real life we could understand and sympathize with other people's fears and needs. I wanted to keep reading past the end and find out what happens next in their lives. A wonderful book. I look forward to her next one.
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Product Details

Rowling, J. K.
Little Brown and Company
Rowling, J.K.
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:

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The Casual Vacancy Used Hardcover
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Product details pages Little Brown and Company - English 9780316228534 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

J. K. Rowling's new book is a little like Harry Potter — if Hagrid never came to collect Harry and instead the novel focused on the dysfunctions of the Dursleys and all their neighbors. That being said, The Casual Vacancy still possesses Rowling's uniquely addictive storytelling, and you'll soon find yourself needing to know what will befall the small town's inhabitants next. Though frequently dark, it has a quaint and charming quality that makes it the perfect book to curl up and read by lamplight while drinking tea on a winter's night.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Set in a tiny town in the English countryside, Pagford is populated with the unlikeliest of characters. It's the perfect setting for salt-of-the-earth, kind, community-minded, and compassionate folks. But you won't find such people here. Everyone has a secret; everyone has hidden motivations and desires which they will stop at nothing to satisfy. These are unseemly folks, each with his or her own particular array of distasteful traits. Throw in a newly vacant seat on the town's council, and you have fertile fields for every kind of backstabbing, manipulating, lying, and coercing imaginable. Yes, it's on.

Surprisingly, while racing through The Casual Vacancy (because I could not put it down), I was most often reminded of Barbara Vine (a.k.a. Ruth Rendell). Rowling's vision of her characters' emotions is razor sharp, and the clarity with which she understands their inner life is startling. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who could paint a psychological study better than Vine, but Rowling is certainly hard on Vine's heels here. Yes, her characters are unlikable (every single one of them), and yes, this is a tale of ugly people doing awful things, and yes, there is so much going on here that it takes a bit of effort to untangle all the threads. But this is one fantastic read, and it is so completely worth the effort. Rowling is, above all else, an amazing storyteller. Don't miss her gigantic leap into adult fiction; it is a thing of beauty underneath all the darkness.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "On the face of it, Rowling's first adult book is very different from the Harry Potter books that made her rich and famous. It's resolutely unmagical: the closest thing to wizardry is the ability to hack into the amateurish Pagford Parish Council Web site. Instead of a battle for worldwide domination, there's a fight over a suddenly empty seat on that Council, the vacancy of the title. Yet despite the lack of invisibility cloaks and pensieves, Pagford isn't so different from Harry's world. There's a massive divide between the haves and the have-nots — the residents of the Fields, the council flats that some want to push off onto a neighboring county council. When Councilor Barry Fairbrother — born in Fields but now a middle-class Pagforder — dies suddenly, the fight gets uglier. In tiny Pagford, and at its school, which caters to rich and poor alike, everyone is connected: obstreperous teenager Krystal Weedon, the sole functioning member of her working-class family, hooks up with the middle-class son of her guidance counselor; the social worker watching over Krystal's drug-addled mother dates the law partner of the son of the dead man's fiercest Council rival; Krystal's great-grandmother's doctor was Fairbrother's closest ally; the daughters of the doctor and the social worker work together, along with the best friend of Krystal's hookup; and so on. Rowling is relentlessly competent: all these people and their hatreds and hopes are established and mixed together. Secrets are revealed, relationships twist and break, and the book rolls toward its awful, logical climax with aplomb. As in the Harry Potter books, children make mistakes and join together with a common cause, accompanied here by adults, some malicious, some trying yet failing. Minus the magic, though, good and evil are depressingly human, and while the characters are all well drawn and believable, they aren't much fun. Agent: The Blair Partnership. (Sept. 27)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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