The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling: an independent bookseller's view

I appeared on BBC Radio Oxford today giving an independent bookshop point of view of 'The Casual Vacancy' by JK Rowling - as well as talking about a few favourite titles that have also been published in the last few weeks.

I hadn't fully appreciated that it was the first show for new presenter Kat Orman, taking over from Jo Thoenes. It was a lot of fun, I was on for nearly an hour, and very honoured to be on the first show. I am definitely a fan now - Kat has a very wicked sense of humour...

Click to listen to the show on iPlayer - you'll need to forward to about 1 hour and 12 minutes for the discussion about 'The Casual Vacancy'...the show will be up on the BBC until October 8th.

(and that listener "Mrs Trellis" who phoned in to say she was listening. Mmm...I have a feeling she's quite famous elsewhere on the BBC...)


  1. The Casual Vacancy was a very far cry from Harry Potter. The writer has used an incident, namely a death, to bring out the social and political dynamics in a small fictitious English village. There is a scenario that would typify almost any rural community that is wholly weighed down with matters of local importance. The outside world does not matter to the inmates.

    The story is meandering and moves at a relaxed pace and it is not devoid of drama.
    The novel brings out the passions, the hatred, rivalries and resentment that fester in minds of the adults and children. Perhaps this pattern of interaction is applicable to all of humanity if only the scale were to differ. Every character is ensconced in his or her own little world and interacts and thinks accordingly. Maybe all humans are self centred to a large extent be they in a village or a metropolis.

    The feel of the book was nice and gossippy and one can easily lose oneself in it. However it did have its sad, even tragic moments.

    All-in-all the book is quite brilliant from one of the most evocative authors of modern times.

  2. For almost anyone who has read the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling became 'my favourite' or 'one of my favourite' authors. But 'The Casual Vacancy' is not the least bit like Harry Potter. Firstly, it is an adult book. So, maybe adults will really enjoy this book but its not all that great for teenagers. The storyline is okay, not too bad, not too great. MostJK Rowling fans have already finished this book so yeah it's way too late for my review, but i guess there are a few of you out there who yet have to read this one.

  3. Harsh reality not wizard fantasy but just as engaging and involving amazing characterization and creation of a discrete world. Powerfully written.