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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Saturday, 2 March 2013

"The casual vacancy" by J K Rowling

Barry Fairbrother's death vacates a seat on the Parish Council of Pagford, chaired by grotesquely fat Howard Mollison. This opens up a feud about the future of the Fields Housing Estate and starts a chain reaction of anger, unburying resentments and leading to disaster.

Rowling's first adult book after the phenomenon that was the Harry Potter series is an update of Peyton Place. She starts like Peyton Place, introducing each of the large cast of characters in a short chapter. The small town of Pagford is an English version of Peyton Place: The rich characters mingle with the poor, connected through the school; every adult has a guilty secret: the only nice characters seem to be the man who dies at the start and his family; nhe teenagers hate their parents and vent their hatred so as to bring distress and destruction upon them; no one emerges victorious although some agree a truce.

It is well written: the plotting is tight and the characters are deftly drawn. She does dissect the complexity of the characters although many (for example, Shirley Mollison) lack depth. I read it swiftly, driven by a desire to know what happened next but at the end I didn't really care.

It begs for a sequel. It really is just like Peyton Place. February 2013; 503 pages.

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