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When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

Reviews

The Casual Vacancy is a brilliant novel, entertaining, intelligent, moving, passionate and hard-hitting; touching on familiar subjects but approaching them with great originality and skill. Moreover, it's unputdownable . . . The novel is a triumph
Irish Times
A perfect holiday read
Best Magazine
Rowling once again shows her skill at laying bare the best and (more often) worst of human nature
Star Magazine
This is a novel of insight and skill, deftly drawn and, at the end, cleverly pulled together. It plays to her strengths as a storyteller
The Economist
This is a book with a social conscience . . . Much lurks behind Pagford's idyllic facade
The Times
The Casual Vacancy is a stunning, brilliant, outrageously gripping and entertaining evocation of British society today. [J.K. Rowling] has done a rather brave thing and pulled it off magnificently
Henry Sutton, The Mirror
One marvels at the skill with which Rowling weaves such vivid characters in and out of each other's lives
Christopher Brookmyre, The Daily Telegraph
A needle-sharp and darkly comic expose of today's class-ridden society . . . A highly readable morality tale for our times
Emma Lee-Potter, Daily Express
The action bowls along compellingly, most of the characters are vividly drawn and there are some sharp - often very sharp - observations about their social pretensions . . . a bold and distinctive effort
The Sunday Telegraph
Rowling weaves a web of connections that resonate long after the book ends
Daily Express
Heartbreaking - turning the page seems unbearable, but not as much as putting down the book would be
Deepti Hajela, Associated Press
This is a wonderful novel. JK Rowling's skills as a storyteller are on a par with RL Stevenson, Conan Doyle and PD James. Here, they are combined with her ability to create memorable and moving characters to produce a state-of-England novel driven by tenderness and fury
Melvyn Bragg, The Observer
JK's first grown-up novel is an eminently-readable tale of small minds in small-town England
Bella
Wrestles honourably and intelligently with big moral and political questions . . . a study of provincial life, with a large cast and multiple, interlocking plots, drawing inspiration from such writers as Trollope, Gaskell and, perhaps most of all, George Elliot . . . [the plot] is big, engrossing, and runs like clockwork
Guardian
Rowling is a great storyteller with a clear eye and a warm heart, and The Casual Vacancy is a moving and immensely pleasurable novel
Sunday Business Post Ireland
An exquisite and occasionally moving black comedy . . . The acid test - I suspect it would do well even if its author's name weren't J.K. Rowling
David Robinson, Scotsman
A big, ambitious, brilliant, profane, funny, deeply upsetting and magnificently eloquent novel of contemporary England . . . This is a deeply moving book by somebody who understands both human beings and novels very, very deeply
Lev Grossman, Time Magazine
Insightful, meaningful, daring and resolutely challenging to tabloid assumptions regarding the moral worth of individuals
Scotland on Sunday