5:00 pm EST, October 3, 2012

The Pagford Pages: Who’s who in ‘The Casual Vacancy’

In the fashion of a truly labyrinthine English novel, The Casual Vacancy has left readers buzzing with literary, moral, and sociological questions. But the dense and layered nature of the tale also sparks another question: Who exactly are all of these people?

Here is a quick, comprehensive guide to the good (and not so good) people of Pagford. Major characters are given in bold; family members and bit-players are given in italics. An asterisk notates an important associate of a family member.

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The Fairbrother family


Barry Fairbrother – Member of the Pagford Parish Council and coach of the Winterdown girls rowing team. Might need a doctor shortly.
Mary Fairbrother – His wife.
Fergus – Their oldest son.
Niamh and Siobhan – Their twin daughters.
Declan – Their youngest son.
*Gavin Hughs – Barry Fairbrother’s very close friend and squash partner. A lawyer in practice with Miles Mollison, in a complicated relationship with Kay Bawden.

The Mollison family


Howard Mollison – Member of the Pagford Parish Council, owner of the town delicatessen. Number-one fan of Pagford.
Shirley Mollison – His wife. Also a member of the Pagford Parish Council and administrator of its website.
Miles Mollison – Their son, a lawyer. Partners with Gavin Hughs.
Samantha Mollison – Miles’ wife, owns a shop in Yarvil.
Libby and Lexie – Miles and Samantha’s daughters who attend school outside of Pagford.
Patricia Mollison – Howard and Shirley’s daughter. Lives in London; “rarely mentioned.”
*Maureen Lowe – Howard Mollison’s business partner in the delicatessen, in place of her deceased husband. Catholic and aging.

The Jawanda family


Parminder Jawanda – Member of the Pagford Parish Council, physician in Pagford. Close friends with Barry Fairbrother and Tessa Wall.
Vikram Jawanda – Her husband, a thoracic surgeon.
Jaswent Jawanda – Their oldest daughter.
Sukhvinder Jawanda – Their middle child. Unpopular, recently befriended by Gaia Bawden. Member of the Winterdown girl’s rowing team coached by Barry Fairbrother.
Rajpal Jawanda – Their youngest son.

The Wall family


Tessa Wall – Guidance councillor at Winterdown, close friends with the Fairbrothers
Colin “Cubby” Wall – Her husband, deputy headmaster at Winterdown. Considers Barry Fairbrother one of his closest friends.
Stuart “Fats” Wall – Their son. Best friends with Andrew Price.

The Price family


Ruth Price – A nurse at Southwest General Hospital. Friends with Shirley Mollison.
Simon Price – Her husband, works at the local printer.
Andrew “Arf” Price – Their older son, best mates with Fats Wall. Fixated on Gaia Bawden.
Paul Price – Their younger son.

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The Bawden family


Kay Bawden – A social worker recently relocated to Pagford from London to pursue her relationship with Gavin Hughs. Given charge of the Wheedon case.
Gaia Bawden – Her daughter. Deeply antagonistic to her mother, Gavin and Pagford, but has befriended Sukhvinder Jawanda.

The Wheedon family


Krystal Wheedon – Troubled and troublemaking teen from the Fields, bussed in to attend Winterdown. A member of the rowing team, beginning to bond with Barry Fairbrother. Receives counseling from Tessa Wall.
Terri Wheedon – Her mother, a heroin addict enrolled in the Fields addiction clinic.
Robbie Wheedon – Krystal’s three-year-old half-brother. His care usually falls to Krystal, who is determined not to lose him to foster care.
Catherine Wheedon, “Nana Cath” – Krystal’s great grandmother and occasional guardian.

That about does it for the twisted residents of Pagford. Although the mythos doesn’t extend quite as far as something along the vein of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, it’s helpful to have a quick reference guide on hand while you’re reading, just to make sure you’re not forgetting anyone.

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Which ‘Casual Vacancy’ characters were you forgetting?

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