THE REVIEWS - VS - MY VIEW
I was given J.K. Rowling's new novel, The Casual Vacancy, for Christmas. I had read a lot of reviews about it before I started reading, and they all seemed to concur that it was dull, disturbing, and dark. With such discouraging thoughts as this rattling in my mind, I felt a little trepidatious when I began to read.
But my trust in Rowling to write honestly and beautifully gave me the spark of courage I needed, and as yet, she has not failed me.
Yes, as the reviewers argue, the book is not a cheery one, but if you loved the way Rowling was always brave enough to take you places you could not have imagined, and show you people and make you feel emotions that you'd never known, then you can still appreciate this book.
THE PEOPLE AND THE PLOT
To give you a little bit of a clearer idea of how the story works, the plot centres upon the death of Parish Councilman, Barry Fairbrother. Each chapter follows the thoughts of a different townsperson, exploring how Barry's death has affected their life.
There is a menagerie of wildly different personalities at play, all thinking about the repercussions of the same event from completely different angles. So far, I have loved how each short chapter (and I love short chapters) gives you the opportunity to delve into a new perspective. And these perspectives are so brutally real and honest, coming from the silent insides of a person's heart, that I have found myself being shocked how Rowling can voice a dark thought I have never put into words, or give me the empathy to see a person I always disliked in a new way.
Part of her courage comes to light as she strides into situations that I'm sure many of us are keen to avoid, but which, nevertheless, are irrefutably important.
J.K. Rowling, even when writing a very different story, retains her familiar style. I am frequently being gobsmacked by her metaphors, which she is masterful at only employing at perfect, unexpected moments.
Even though I am only just half-way through The Casual Vacancy I think it is safe to conclude, that while this book may defy expectations and be darker than we are used to, J.K. Rowling is still raising her voice for truth.