EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 14, 2012

You will have a hard time leaving 'Casual Vacancy'


Meanwhile, over at the Fields, a child was fighting for her life…

Though it’s undoubtedly going to happen, it would be unfair to compare this novel to the Harry Potter books. They’re worlds apart.

Author J.K. Rowling’s character development is stellar (as usual) and, perhaps because she doesn’t have the luxury of seven volumes, her story is tight and succinct. Here, we meet a dead man whose presence continually lingers through the lives of friends and enemies alike. We’re plunged into a small-town filled with sniping residents, each desperate to keep a deep secret under wraps, each afraid that something is going horribly, uncontrollably wrong — and quite often, it does.

This is a complex book with lots of layers, humor, pathos and allegories everywhere. Readers may even find a timely message in this story of rich and poor and the politics that accompany them.

It should be immediately obvious that this is absolutely not a book for children, but grown-up Harry Potter fans will love it just the same. If you’re up for a brick of a novel that isn’t quite long enough, “The Casual Vacancy” is one you’ll have a hard time leaving.

Terri Schlichenmeyer reviews books for the Sunday Eagle-Tribune.

"The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling c.2012, Little, Brown $35.00 / $35.99 Canada 503 pages

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