Shortlisted for: UK Author of the year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early 40s, 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.
Q and A with J.K. Rowling
"The Casual Vacancy" is radically different from Harry Potter. What made you want to write it?
I had the idea on a plane this time- not on a train- and was immediately very excited by it. It is another novel about morality and mortality, as Harry Potter was, but contemporary. It's set in a small community, which involves writing characters who are adolescents all the way up to people in their sixties. I love nineteenth century novels that centre on a town or village. This is my attempt to do a modern version.
Why is it called "The Casual Vacancy"? Were there other possible titles?
The working title was 'Responsible', because a central theme is how much responsibility each of us has for where we are in life - our happiness, our health and our wealth - and also the responsibility we have towards other people - our partners, our children and wider society. However, when I came across the phrase 'a casual vacancy', which is the correct term for a seat left empty on a council by the death of one of its ...