The Casual Vacancy TV series (based on J.K. Rowling)

I just watched the three-part miniseries based on J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. All-in-all, I enjoyed it. It had some of my favorite actors, all of whom performed fantastically. There were some really good relationship moments.

The ending is a bit of a downer. And I’m not sure there is a character that goes through a significant change from beginning to end (other than dying). That’s probably the biggest weakness.

Very often, a TV adaptation will drive me to read the original book, but I don’t think that it will in this case. What I know about the novel is that it is much more bleak. And having read the Harry Potter series, I’m not inclined to try out Rowling for her prose skill—she a good plotter but not much of a writer in my view.

Anyone else have views on this show (or the book)?

I thought the show was somewhat mediocre, while the book was quite good. The book was really interested in the questions of ridiculous small time politics getting in the way of helping out people - which is kind of the point of local government in the first place. And secondly the notion of the adults acting like children, while their kids have to figure out their way in the world somewhat apart from the silly games their parents’ are playing. The show explores that, but not nearly in as much depth as the book, and therefore suffers for it.

I second what ISiddiqui says. The book is excellent, but is not Potter. It is also not a happy book in many ways. I don’t think it gets a fair shake by most people. But it contains a critique of not helping those in need that is well worth it and is in line with the Potter philosophy.

But, if that book is not for you, if you like detective novels try the Cormoran Strike novels. They are very good, and very much of that genre.

I liked the book a lot but I haven’t read any Harry Potter, so I had no preconceptions.

What do you guys think of the writing though? As much as I liked the Harry Potter series, I don’t consider them to be well-written.

I thought the writing was just fine: clear glass prose that did its job. The characters were excellently drawn (though I wondered why the Sikh family wasn’t named “Singh.”)

I find the question difficult to understand. All I can say is that if I don’t like a book or don’t find it well-written, a subjective measure if there ever was one, I don’t finish it. Both Vacancy and the Strike novels kept my attention and did little or nothing to annoy me. I admit that I did not like what happened in parts of Vacancy, but that was part of the story and I was supposed to be unhappy or uncomfortable in parts. The Strike books can be a bit grisly but they are detective stories.

I did consume the last Strike book as an audiobook, and I found it to be very well done.