A CASUAL VACANCY by J. K. Rowling is the story of a bitter class struggle between the smug, wealthy inhabitants of Pagford, and their much poorer neighbors who inhabit the council flats called “The Fields”.

When kindly counsel member Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly, someone has to be found to fill that vacant seat. The good people of pretty Pagford would rather not have to deal with all the problems created by poverty and would love to redraw the boundaries so that the inhabitants of “The Fields” now live in nearby (and poorer) Yarvil. And so the plot of the novel turns on whether the people of Pagford will be able to fill that seat with someone who will do their bidding, or not.

This book is not particularly easy to read. It is written in omniscient third with 18 point-of-view characters. Personally, I thought that Rowling did a wonderful job in telling this story, and I was not bored or confused as some readers were. But potential readers should be warned that most of the characters in this book are just plain mean and there is plenty of betrayal, infighting and heartbreak. However, if you stick with this story, you will find a rewarding, thought-provoking read. Four stars.