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Capital | [John Lanchester]

Capital

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?
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (119 )
5 star
 (40)
4 star
 (33)
3 star
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 (10)
Overall
3.6 (102 )
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Story
4.0 (99 )
5 star
 (41)
4 star
 (33)
3 star
 (16)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    Lynda Rands Belleville, IL 10-16-12
    Lynda Rands Belleville, IL 10-16-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful characters, great story"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nan W. Pittsburgh, PA 01-22-13
    Nan W. Pittsburgh, PA 01-22-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    6
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    "Tom Wolfe minus the sardonicism"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gavin Santa Monica, CA, United States 01-27-14
    Gavin Santa Monica, CA, United States 01-27-14 Member Since 2004

    Novelist and screenwriter; formerly BBC reporter and interviewer. TV and Film scripts include Mists of Avalon, Legends of Earthsea,The Borrowers,Small Soldiers, War and Peace, Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Dunkirk.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Modern London revealed"
    Where does Capital rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Near the top.


    What other book might you compare Capital to and why?

    Little Dorrit - because of its panoramic view of London.


    What does Colin Mace bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A splendid performance.


    Any additional comments?

    Lancaster understands economics and empathizes with human beings. As a result he creates a pictures of the inhabitants of a London street you both understand and believe in. A splendid book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny Jenkins Old Chatham, NY 08-06-13
    Jenny Jenkins Old Chatham, NY 08-06-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "21st Century London Comedy of Manners --with Heart"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Colin Mace’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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.


    If you could take any character from Capital out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I'll be looking out for more novels from John Lanchester and more books read by Colin Mace.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Merritt Island, FL, United States 03-30-14
    Susan Merritt Island, FL, United States 03-30-14 Member Since 2006
    ratings
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    46
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    "Good read"
    Where does Capital rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Several writing conventions made this an interesting book. First, it told several intertwined stories that were held together by geography. All of the main characters lived on a small street. The historical perspective of the street was typical of London. An old woman had lived there her entire adult life, her daughter and grandson lived different lives but were tied to the street for different reasons; a "master of the universe" type had moved in, thinking the street would be the next great neighborhood; an immigrant family lived on the fringe of the street and ran a small store ... their aspirations lent perspective and a phenomenal athlete, being evaluated by a leading soccer team reflected the "outsider" view. Finally the Greek chorus was provided by a handyman that worked on the street for two of the protagonists. The people had such different lives and perspectives it gave authenticity to the varying stories. It was tedious and slow in places but worth the work.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Capital?

    The handyman finding the money in the wall.


    Have you listened to any of Colin Mace’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no, it required some reflection


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. A. Rogers South Carolina USA 02-15-14
    S. A. Rogers South Carolina USA 02-15-14 Member Since 2011
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    "the book that never went anywhere"
    Any additional comments?

    I cant believe I listened to the whole book waiting for something to happen. There were tons of interesting characters whos lives crossed. But the story never got going. Totally lacked an ending that made me feel like the individual characters stories ended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jodi.riedel NILES, OH, United States 02-12-14
    jodi.riedel NILES, OH, United States 02-12-14 Member Since 2010

    Educator in Trumbull County,Ohio

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WORST BOOK I'VE HEARD IN A LOOOOONNNGGG TIME!!!"
    What would have made Capital better?

    Nothing!


    Would you ever listen to anything by John Lanchester again?

    No


    What didn’t you like about Colin Mace’s performance?

    Characters were introduced painfully long, way to long.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Absolutely None!


    Any additional comments?

    I kept thinking he would wrap it up and that would help it but that did not happen either.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Norma Guerra Florida USA 02-10-14
    Norma Guerra Florida USA 02-10-14 Member Since 2013

    ng

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    "Disappointed"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Not sure who would have enjoyed this book ~ definitely not for me


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?


    Any additional comments?

    The author did a great job developing the characters just wish the story had a plot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ira W. GREAT FALLS, MT, United States 01-23-14
    Ira W. GREAT FALLS, MT, United States 01-23-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Not worth a credit."
    What disappointed you about Capital?

    Extremely slow start. A different plot. It seems like I could have skipped the entire first half and still understand the ending.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    Not worth a credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew MERRICK, NY, United States 01-23-13
    Andrew MERRICK, NY, United States 01-23-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    14
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    "The Way We Live Now"
    If you could sum up Capital in three words, what would they be?

    Ordinary but profound.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator is outstanding. I have seen interviews with John Lanchester, the author. The narrator has the same tone and inflection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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