The themes are certainly very adult – suicide, child abuse physical, verbal and sexual, rape, adultery and pedophilia, subjecting every character to various degrees and making them all perpetuators. That is what sets the greatest difference from Harry Potter – Harry is ultimately too good to cast the Avada Kedavra on Bellatrix following Sirius’ death. Hermione, despite her bosiness is little-miss-perfect. Snape, perhaps the most flawed is still tragically sainted – real, serious and despicable flaws are reserved only for Lord Voldemort, even the Death Eaters are merely pitifully deluded. Yet, in The Casual Vacancy, each character is shamelessly twisted. In the place of self-sacrificing children and their equally self-sacrificing families in a time of war, you have dirty politicians, their vicious spouses and their venomous children in the aftermath of another politician’s death, harder to pity and infinitely harder to love. Yet, it is these flaws which infinitely mark them as humans. Perhaps it is absurd that all the issues contained in the plot should happen in one single, insignificant town, yet these issues are nontheless very real today and it is through these issues vis-a-vis their flaws that allows the reader to sympathize with the characters, albeit grudgingly and feel especially for the tragedy which ends the book and turns the plot around.
It certainly is no Harry Potter and in my bias, perhaps, I believe no subsequent Rowling work will produce the same impact as her previous series has done but The Casual Vacancy is certainly well-written and in possesion of valuable insights to ponder over. It’s no Harry Potter and remains in no position to compete, even in the field of more mature litterature but it remains a must read, although I have to say that I’m not too attached nor will it go to my pile of frequently re-read books.
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