Number of pages: 505
J.K. Rowling’s first novel since the end of the Harry Potter series opens with the death of Barry Fairbrother, a local councillor in the book’s fictional setting, Pagford.
This event sets of the subsequent events in the story, including principally the politics behind electing Fairbrother’s replacement, but throughout the book it is shown that many of Pagford’s residences have skeletons in their closets throughout the many intertwined plotlines, including defamatory messages about one of the candidates appearing on the Parish Council website posted by “The Ghost of Barry Fairbrother”.
When this book first came out, it was a well-known fact that this was going to be very different from Harry Potter, and it is. Aimed at an adult audience, the book introduces a lot of mature themes, from extra-marital affairs to domestic violence and rape; and there is also a lot of profanity.
The pace of the story is quite slow; the first part of the book introduces all of the characters, and deals with their reactions to Fairbrother’s death. I enjoyed this a lot, particularly the portrayal of middle-class England, and the way that just about every character was portrayed to show them as very ugly on the inside. It took a few chapters to get into, but I found myself hooked on the story, all the way to the harrowing conclusion.
Next book: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis