It’s 2008, and things are falling apart: Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers are going under, and the residents of Pepys Road, London - a banker and his shopaholic wife, an old woman dying of a brain tumor and her graffiti-artist grandson, Pakistani shop owners and a shadowy refugee who works as the meter maid, the young soccer star from Senegal and his minder - are receiving anonymous postcards reading "We Want What You Have." Who is behind it? What do they want?
Epic in scope, yet intimate, capturing the ordinary dramas of very different lives, this is a novel of love and suspicion, of financial collapse and terrorist threat, of property values going up and fortunes going down, and of a city at a moment of extraordinary tension.
©2012 John Lanchester (P)2012 W.F. Howes
I loved every minute of this book. Lanchester brings all his characters out through action and conversation and he has a great handle on what was happening in London during the 2000's. Looks at the era from a lot of different viewpoints. I cared about all these people, whether I liked them or not. There are a few references which require some background in English culture, but you won't have a problem if you don't catch them. Very nice story, really couldn't recommend it more highly.
This is a perceptive novel about people who live and work on a gentrified street in London in 2007 - 2008, just before the stock market crash. The tone of the book is intelligent, compassionate, and frequently laugh-out-loud funny. Colin Mace's narration is terrific. The author handles his panoramic cast of characters well (think Dickens, Balzac, Zola) and with insight. If you have liked Tom Wolfe's novels but sometimes find his sardonicism mean-spirited or irritating, you will appreciate Capital. I enjoyed this novel tremendously and have recommended it to friends.
I would absolutely recommend this audiobook!
John Lanchester paints a portrait of 21st century life in London with sympathy, humor and dead-on accuracy. At first you think you're getting yourself into one more social satire -- aren't these materialistic wannabes so terrible (or at least so much worse than I am?). And Lanchester nails all those details perfectly with pitch-perfect nuance. But then the book opens up and gives us real human lives with humor, heart and insight.
The narrator is incredibly good!
He's funny, sympathetic, smart, and gives perfect intonation to both dialogue and narration. True, some of the African accents were not so great, but to be able to assume the accents and perspectives of so many people of multicultural London -- a Polish builder, Hungarian nanny, City bankers, artist with a fake East End accent (for his street cred), Pakistani shopkeepers male and female as well as their children ("Daddy!"), an 82-year-old middle class lady named Petunia -- constitutes a true tour de force.
I loved the Kamal family and begrudgingly admired and even loved Mrs. Kamal's determination. I think I would enjoy their argumentativeness, intelligence, and willingness to connect with one another.
I'll be looking out for more novels from John Lanchester and more books read by Colin Mace.
Ordinary but profound.
This Altmanesque story touches upon the lives of "typical" Londoners. The book does not dazzle you with creativity. It settles for small insights. Its greatest virtue is that despite its breadth it never hits a false note.
The narrator is outstanding. I have seen interviews with John Lanchester, the author. The narrator has the same tone and inflection.
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