November 16, 2018, 06:17:03 AM

Author Topic: A Casual Society? – Could Pagford be a real place?  (Read 3909 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

January 17, 2013, 03:17:41 AM
Reply #20


  • *****
  • Posts: 131
    • Musings of a Penniless Writer
Pagford - whilst a caricature - does exist because I've lived in it.

For the first 18 years of my life I lived in a small market town, run by a parish council. I cannot tell you how many times I thought "I know that person" whilst ready this book. It may be uncomfortable reading, but believe me, it was real.

The British do the class system very well, and that is no compliment. I was engaged at 16 to a boy whose father was the leader of the council, and so I spent far too much time around little people who thought they were important. I have lived the middle class life and seen first hand the fear people have of those labelled "working class." My school was the school featured in this novel.

I thought it was a work of genius, dripping in truth.
April 15, 2013, 01:50:39 AM
Reply #21


  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 202
    • Varzaland
I came across this review and I was a bit surprised at how upset the writer was:

Am I the only who isn't surprised that Rowling put the small town in a dark space? Her charactercation of the small town in HP wasn't that pleasent - to the point that the Dursley remind me a whole lot of the Mollisons'.
I am everywhere....
April 15, 2013, 07:36:39 PM
Reply #22


  • Quibbling Queen
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1700
    • Try & Trix
I came across this review and I was a bit surprised at how upset the writer was:

Am I the only who isn't surprised that Rowling put the small town in a dark space? Her charactercation of the small town in HP wasn't that pleasent - to the point that the Dursley remind me a whole lot of the Mollisons'.
What a complete rubbish that review was!  :surprised: I just read it without recognizing the book in this description, long-winded as it was. For sure, CV is not a book I will quickly reread for a third time, and it sure is a dark and for far too long also a boring tale. But this description... it sounds to me very much like an author who has waited a long time to have a go at Jo. Some of it's claims are completely riddiculous to the point where I wonder if he's read all of the book, or jumped over places which unfortunately contained info of relevance?

Quote from:  the review in question
She  [Jo Rowling] has very simple codes to indicate who is bad. Anyone who has a slightly out-of-date, petit-bourgeois Christian name, like Howard, Shirley or Maureen, is bad. Such people’s evil is proved by the fact that they have carriage lamps outside their doors, refer to the sitting-room as the “lounge”, wear deerstalkers (indoors!) and candlewick dressing-gowns. They have – for no cliché is unturned in this book – hanging baskets, fake log fires and privet hedges. They look down, snobbishly, on poor people, such as those who live in the Fields, a council estate uncomfortably close to Pagford. The word JK Rowling keeps on using is “smug”. She uses that word smugly. ...
Since when have Jo simple codes to indicate who is bad?  :mcgonagall2: In most cases, my first hand impression of characters and their respective places in the sliding grey scale that Jo loves to put her characters in, changes gradually - sometimes dramatically - between start and end, in particular in the last 300 pages or so. Also, this description is completely backwards to me: No, it is not because they dress the way they do, or live the way they do, that define a character as good or bad or any place in between: it's their actions, thoughts and motives that place them there.

Quote from:  the review in question
In the Rowling dystopia, the good people, obviously, are any non-whites – represented, in benighted Pagford, by only one family (of admirable Sikh doctors) – plus lesbians, social workers and teachers. But lest I give the impression that virtue gets much play in this book, I should add that the only truly good character, who carries the name of Barry Fairbrother so that you can tell at once just how good he is, dies on the first page. Indeed, one feels that the author’s disapproval of small-town Pharisees is, in part, a cover to allow her to be horrible about almost everyone.
Really? How interesting... Firstly, Gaia is not white so why is her family excluded from these "good guys"? Oh, I forgot, they're not: They're included in a sentence that to me sounds as an aggressive and very condescending description as: "lesbians, social workers and teachers".  :mcgonagall2: So why would they not count, to begin with? Further, where does Andrew come in? His family may not be a good one, but what is wrong with him, I wonder?  And is the Sikh family really all that good and great? Mrs Parminder has favourites among her children, and makes no effort to try to understand or even listen to her youngest daughter. Is she really such an admirable person?  :ron: Not in my book, not like that, she has a lot of flaws. (Pun unintended.)

Quote from:  the review in question
... The most hate-filled descriptions in the book are of Terri Weedon, the drug-addicted, gap-toothed prostitute who lives in the Fields, and her repulsive supplier and lover, who also rapes her daughter. He is subtly named Obbo. 
I don't agree with this at all. We have very little info on Obbo, who clearly isn't a main character by any stretch given the rich (too rich) person gallery. As for Terri, we get a glimpse into her childhood, and that glimpse explains a lot. I really get the feeling that this review author has skipped ahead in the book and missed it.  :( Frankly, to me the most hate-filled descriptions are that of Shirley Mollison in her complete uncaring of the world and Simon Price, who vents all anger on his wife and poor children.  >:(

And just how is it possible to read 500 pages worth of a book showing poverty in all its ugly state, complete with problems of all imaginable kinds, speaking clearly about the need for those better suited to consider how those in need are affected by their decisions, to come up with this as the final words?  :madeye:
Quote from:  Last sentence
Left-wing she may be, but what JK Rowling is really saying to the poor old provincial England that made her is, like Harry Enfield’s famous creation, “I am considerably richer than yow!”

Frankly, to me it come off as someone who is struck personally by this plot in one way or another. Something in this plot seems to have slapped this review writer hard, and he seems anxious to hit back!
April 18, 2013, 11:43:07 PM
Reply #23


  • Staffer
  • *****
  • Posts: 914
    • Chasing the Tale
Oh Evreka! I agree totally with you. That review was ridiculous. It didn't even go into the plot or the nuances of the characters - just jabbed here and there without much thought. If the person had a point, I didn't see it. It reminded me a lot of the criticism Jo got from the Bible belt about the HP books - teaching kids to be wicked witches! One wonders if they read the book at all? Perhaps this person skimmed the pages for all the things they thought they could throw in her face as being 'horrible'. They obviously didn't 'get' that  each of the characters had backgrounds and stories behind them. That old adage of 'don't judge a book by it's cover' is really true with these characters.

As for a comparison between  Pagford and Little Winging? I don't see that. Pagford is a compilation of different families with various flaws - good and bad - while we saw very little of Little Winging, other the Dursleys and Dudley's friends. (Even Mrs. Figg doesn't really count, because she wasn't truly 'part' of the community.) Mostly in Little Winding we were privy to only the bad and - remember it was through Harry's POV.  JKR was much more open to exposing her characters in Pagford to different POV's. One other thing - as JKR did with Hogwarts - Pagford became a 'character' in and of itself, just like Hogwarts became a separate character in the HP books.

Like a lot of reviews you have to take this one with a spoonful of salt!