Casual Vacancy (Rowling) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for The Casual Vacancy:

1. Before reading, did you have certain expectations for this book based on the Harry Potter series? If so, does The Casual Vacancy meet these expectations?

2. The book has more than 30 main characters. Did you have trouble keeping them and storylines in order?

3. Do you think the profanity, violence and sex is excessive and sensational? Is Rowling trying to prove that she can write for adults or does it enhance the plot?

4. Which storyline with which characters is your favorite and why? Least favorite?

5. Rowling describes the book as a "comic tragedy". What does that mean? Some have talked about the wit, others described the lack of it. Do you find her wit on display in the book?
 
6. Many reviewers and readers complain that the plot takes is slow to get off the ground and drags in some parts. What do you think? Is The Casual Vacancy too long at 500+ pages?

7. Before the success of Harry Potter, Rowling had experiences with poverty. Does knowing this increase the creditability of the Krystal character?

8. In many interviews, Rowling states that she felt she "had to write" this book and that it's very personal to her. Several characters and experiences can be paralled to her life. For example, Howard Mollinson and Simon Price are her estranged real-life father; Gavin is her first husband; Kay Bawden is a young, single J.K. Do you see any of your own relationships in the book? Does the story cause you to examine any of your relationships?

9. Is the ending satisfying? Does Rowling tie up loose ends or does she leave some things unanswered?

(Questions by Katherine O'Connor of LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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