“When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?” (from goodreads)
I LOVED this book, I enjoyed its reading so much!
What I wrote above is what the book says about itself and it’s a great synopsis, but the actual story is so thick and intricate that it’s really hard to put in a few words. Because it’s such a tiny town (“small town, big hell” we say here) every character is intertwined with the rest in so many levels, that the little acts and moves they make affects the entire “ecosystem”. At the beginning goes a little slow, but then I realized it was a necessary measure to present every character and their background and motivations, which make them very real. Once this is done, the story moves forward smoothly but steady, and at the end gains a vertiginous speed and concludes in a very unexpected way. The shock lasts for a while.
In case you’re interested, there’s a three part adaptation from the BBC, which I watch right after I finished the book but ,honestly, I didn’t like it. There are a lot of things changed, and it feels superficial. But the casting choices are great, the actors looked pretty much how I imagined the characters, so that’s a good point in its favor.