As I don't have any sort of hope of reading 52 books in 2013, I will be spacing out these book opinions to every other week, starting with this one. 'The Casual Vacancy' (J. K. Rowling) is a Christmas present (I got two). I haven't read any one else' review of this book, but understand that there has been some ardent discussion on whether this novel is wonderful, a bit of a disappointment, or an abomination. For me, Rowling hid nothing when she published this book...she said that it wasn't Harry Potter for adults & it isn't. This novel is more along the lines of a 'slice of life'. A chapter in the lives of a small group of characters living in a small-ish English village.
This is in no way a fairy-tale or a sweet fable about a quaint English village. There is darkness in this village, similar to any other urban center. No myth-based folktale creatures, but modern accents of the middle class, the wanna-be-s, & the lower economic class. No honorable deaths, but sudden death, political jockeying, gossip. Any readers looking for a whiff of fantasy is going to be very upset. While this type of novel isn't my usual preference, the turn of phrase kept me moving right through the chapters. 'The Casual Vacancy' will be on my shelves until my daughter has read it (at least).
Quote 1: "You went all the way to the hospital with her?" Shirley was saying from the speakerphone.
No, thought Samantha, we got bored halfway there and asked to be let out. (page 9-10, paragraph 11-1)
Quote 2: "As the news traveled, an odd transmutation took place. It happened to the signature dotting the files in Barry's office and to the e-mils littering in-boxes of his enormous acquaintance, which began to take on the pathos of a lost boy in a forest." (page 46, paragraph 2)
1 Visual: "Here, she knew, the torch's light would be confined, and would not show around the edges of the door. She sat down with her back against the wall, pushed up the sleeve of her nightshirt and examined by torchlight the marks left by her last session, still visible, crisscrossed and dark on her arm, but healing." (page 149, paragraph 2)
The fantasy & magic written into Harry Potters' world allowed the reader to gloss over the darkness included within. Not so with 'The Casual Vacancy'. Here, the darkness shouts.