SparkNotes Blog

The 4 People You Meet In Pagford

We’re reading The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. This is our 6th installment of the book club. Join our discussion in the comments!

In the first half of “Part Two” of CasVac, I figured out why I like social worker Kay Bawden so much.

She’s not from Pagford.

As a recent city transplant, Kay is entering into this wackadoo world of hot white privilege with the same virgin eyes that we are. She’s our sympathetic link to a society that cares about more than getting an occasional snogging from the cute Bollywood doctor, or replacing public housing with potato fountains. Kay cares about the people around her, loathsome as they are, and just asks for the same respect in return. It’s especially easy to be on Kay’s side during the Mollison dinner party scene at the end of this section, where everyone around the table is a basket of psycho-muffins except for her (illustrated above). I hope she finds happiness. But I suspect she’ll just leave Pagford. What do you think?

On the other hand, I’m still trying to figure out why I like Krystal Weedon so much. Is it because she’s tough and sweary? Because she’s had a life of genuine hardship, and rolls with it like a soldier instead of pouting on Facebook? Because she’s one of the few characters we know who is trying to improve life in The Fields instead of ignoring it? Maybe all of the above.

I gotta say though, K’s chapter in today’s section had some of the weirdest similes so far…

“Fear fluttered in Krystal’s belly like a fetus.”

Oof…better check that out. My aunt almost died from fetus flutters.

Also, her sister’s unborn child is apparently “as beautiful and mysterious as the dead man in Terri’s bathroom.” Yeah…that was a pretty hot corpse.

But that wasn’t the only weird language in today’s reading. Here’s some words I actually had to get off my butt and look up:

  • pusillanimous: cowardly (Gavin)
  • obstreperous: noisy and hard to control
  • sacrosanct: too important to meddle with
  • prurience: having or encouraging excessive interest in sexual matters (Sam Mollison, *cough cough*)
  • bonhomie: good-heartedness (from French bonhomme, “good man”)
  • quoin: this
  • “up the duff”: preggers (slang)

Don’t say J.K. still isn’t teaching us valuable lessons!

So, what do you guys think of CasVac now that we’re approaching the halfway point? Haven’t heard from you in a while. It’s awfully quiet in these here comments…I can actually hear my own lonely tears hitting the cold dead floor. Should we slow down a little? Are any of you still reading??? Engage with me and with literature, muskrats!!!

I’m gonna finish Part Two tonight (up to page 259 in the hardback), and probably have a bi-polar conversation with myself about it tomorrow. Bye bye.