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Old 12-08-2012, 07:40 PM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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The Casual Vacancy (no spoilers)

I'm about 187 pages into J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy, and I have to ask: does it get any better? Does there ever come more of a reason to care about any of these characters than has come along so far? Does it get any easier to keep the throng of characters straight? (One couple has some deep, dark secret, as yet undivulged, at the heart of their marriage. I can't even remember which couple it might be. I don't care about the answer; I'm just giving a for-instance of my difficulty of keeping track of everyone.) If this were real life, there'd be little reason for anyone not residing in Pagford or Yarvil to give a good goddamn whether The Fields was in one town or the other, and that's the conflict motivating a whole bunch of the adults' actions: as a result, it's really tough to care about their motivations.

So: does it get better? Should I keep going, in the expectation that it will pull me in more than it has so far? Or is the book just one long, tiring slog that I should put down now, and find better uses for my scarce spare time?
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:42 PM
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koeeoaddi koeeoaddi is offline
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Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
So: does it get better? Should I keep going, in the expectation that it will pull me in more than it has so far? Or is the book just one long, tiring slog that I should put down now, and find better uses for my scarce spare time?
I'm interested in the answer to this, too. I stalled out after one CD of the audiobook.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:44 PM
Alice The Goon Alice The Goon is offline
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No, it really doesn't get better. There is a big tragedy at the end so you might want to finish it for that meager payoff. I finished it, kind of wish I'd never started it, glad to be done with it.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:22 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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I think if you don't like it by now, you're not going to because the entire book is more of the same.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:26 PM
InsomniaMama InsomniaMama is offline
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I gave up right about there, too. I tried. I just couldn't care.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:53 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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I think if you don't like it by now, you're not going to because the entire book is more of the same.
So did you like it, and if so, why? One of the things that's made it hard going for me is the rarity of genuine emotion on the part of any of the characters. If these were real people, Krystal Weedon and her baby brother are the only ones whose fate I'd give a damn about.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:50 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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I'd say I liked it okay, I'd give it a B- in terms of enjoyment. Right out of the gate, I have a fondness already for novels set in small towns, so the fact that the big contentious issue in their small town politics is really a non-issue doesn't bother me a whit.

I wouldn't say I exactly liked the characters, but I was impressed by how she can build a character using only a few details and it's easy for the reader to fill in the rest. For most of the characters, I could think of people I know who share the same traits or mindset so they seem real to me, even though most of them aren't particularly likeable.

Overall, I found the teenagers' subplots more interesting than those of the adults, go figure.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:25 PM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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Overall, I found the teenagers' subplots more interesting than those of the adults, go figure.
Me too, but it still wasn't enough to save it for me.

I did try to keep going for a little while longer, but Samantha's dinner party (~p.220?) did me in. Embarrassment, IMHO, has to be done with a deft touch, and in that particular scene, Rowling applies it with a trowel, for page after page.
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