My favorite used bookstore is expanding a bit into new books and therefore my recent trip there included buying a copy of J.K. Rowling's A Casual Vacancy. I'd heard/read nothing but good things about this novel and, while I was outside of the suggested age range for the Harry Potter series, I had read and enjoyed them. My mom did her best to make a Anglophilic reader out of me and PBS broadcasts of Dr. Who, Red Dwarf, and the Mystery series pretty much sealed the deal.
As you can probably guess from this above list, I'm partial to genre fiction...but not so much so that I don't read lit fiction.
As I began reading, however, I realized that this is one of those books that's going to have to go back on the shelf for some time before I pick it up again. Ms. Rowling's characters are flesh-and-blood and frighteningly mortal from the start and they get under my skin, uncomfortably so. She fillets the empathy directly from the surface of my heart.
The book settles in the part of me that is worried about what I've come to think of as my career amputation--this occurred over a decade ago when the Pumpkin King and I decided to move out into the suburbs to pursue job opportunities. I left a job that made me happy for one that turned out to be little more than drama and paranoia and that ended badly. After that, I floundered until finding a job that ended with the closing of the company just as the economy tanked. Since then...blankness.
All of sudden, I'm encountering article after article that shows people roughly my age with a raft of accomplishments behind them and now this book--which hangs a scythe over my imagination. It's just a mismatch of circumstance and reader; however, it feels like a condemnation.
But the book is really good. I promised myself I'd read one page a day until it was done. It is probably worth the discomfort. I should know sometime in July 2014.