Quentina and four other African employees of the firm have a daily contest to maintain their interest: He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and was awarded the E. Here they are, says Lanchester almost dispassionately, make of them what you will; maybe a hint of, aren’t they we strange? That said, I can’t say I’d recommend this as a trenchant insight into the backstage life of the city of my birth. Peel away the posh houses and the expensive cars and even before the crash there was a lot of misery. All of the stories and characters in some way are connected with dwellings on a single block of Pepys Road in South London, three-storey homes constructed in the late nineteenth century. Then we zoom abruptly down to the humans within.

Roger’s wife Arabella, for instance, is a lady who lunches — a spa-obsessed harpy who seems to be starring in her own slightly mirthless episode of Absolutely Fabulous. Amazon has it as both OOP and preorder with a two star rating. And if Lanchester chooses to reveal character largely through action and daily experiences, it makes the moments when he does open up an inner life at a turning point all the more striking. Retrieved from ” http: The city or town that functions as the seat of government and administrative capital of the country or region: For the first time in history, the people who lived in the street were, by global and maybe even by local standards, rich. And it is a very entertaining read — even given its length I managed to whip through it in three days. Lanchester has a decent stab at describing what it must be like to run a corner shop, or to be detained under terrorism laws, or to leave a shack in Senegal to play alongside world-famous footballers.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress. Some authors do it better than others, such as Balzac, to whom Lanchester refers in an interview NY Times Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No-One Can Payand had heard that he was researching the world of finance so he could put it in a novel. Zbigniew Bogdan – migrant Polish builder from Cwpital who works on houses in Pepys Road, later called in to work in Petunia’s house.


John Lanchester’s Capital – That’s How The Light Gets In

Her husband died five years ago and Petunia herself is approaching the end of her days — still, both her memories and current experience on Pepys Road are important to the continuity of the various story lines. This book is a funny, warm and incisive dissection of London lanchster at the time of the financial crisis of Since he has been writing excellent journalism about summwry banking crisis.

But they’re also very human, and Lanchester makes us care about them for a year or so in their lives and times.


I enjoyed the viewpoint of the horrendous moneyed and spoilt Arabella, but some of the characters remained little more than sketches. Feb 22, A.

In fact, half way through, I realised I’d already read this novel years ago and completely forgotten about it. Lanchester has been compared to Dickens but I feel that’s unfair. Collateralized debt obligations were never so much fun. All of them have to be tough, drawing on their wits, prepared to adapt themselves to what is required, plto to accept and brush aside humiliation.

What a cool book! In vivid, short chapters, we meet London lancheeter who have no idea that by the end of the year, a bank in New York will collapse and throw the economy into lanchestfr The shop at the end of the road, number 68, is owned by Ahmed Kamal and the upper floor is home to his wife and two children.

But the links are too tenuous, too fragile. Blending brilliant financial reporting with irresistible British wit, it was a captal merger of Michael Lewis, James Surowiecki and Kingsley Amis. I was eager to read this, as I liked Fragrant Harborbut Capital was a disappointment. My expectation was that he was going to show us how the financial meltdown of effected the mohn of the people on one London street.

This book tells the story of the men and women of Fighter Command who worked tirelessly in air ssummary scattered throughout Britain to thwart the Nazis. The effect is a little like a Larkin poem “Many, many people had fallen in and out of love; a young girl had had her first kiss, an old man had exhaled his last breath, a solicitor on the way back from the Underground station after work had looked up at the sky, swept blue by the wind, and had a sudden sense of religious consolation …” — but “fluent in money”, as the book has it: Capital attempts an allegorical portrait of the Smoke during those turbulent times.

Capital by John Lanchester – book review

Purchased from the Book Depository. His documentation is sharp and vivid as he follows their adventures”. Lanchester provides dimension for his characters in a way that Dickens often didn’t — especially olot woman characters.

Many, many people had fall This book is almost a pure delight. Caputal there’s a lot of slightly lazy repetition: Get the best at Telegraph Puzzles.

Moreover, despite their physical proximity, they barely interact. Now, however, history had sprung an astonishing plot twist on the residents of Pepys Road. But the houses were the backdrop to their lives: In the confusion, Yount gets less attention than he deserves. Petunia’s final experience of life in London has not been good: The people of Pepys Road are mostly upper and upper middle class folks and Lanchester takes us in and out of their houses in smoothly written prose that is just the right mix of intimacy and distance.


She is only interested in spending money, even when Roger’s capihal starts to falter. He tells a good story. Arabella, the shopaholic wife, has virtually no redeeming characteristics, for example.

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For most of its history, the street was lived in by more or less the kind of people it was built for: But it is telling that the characters who emerge stronger at the end, more fulfilled and better equipped to cope, are those who do not bow down and worship the golden calves of the Capital, but treat it in Lord Rogers’ words jhon a place for people to meet; those who turn their backs on London’s gaudy promises, and find what they need inside themselves and their fellow man.

Squeezing a bafflingly diverse city of more than seven million inhabitants into even quite a thick book without letting a good portion of the diversity slide is a tall order: It often felt simplistic and glib.

Epic in scope yet intimate, capturing the ordinary dramas of very lanchestwr 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.

Afterall, once we know what the people have, dysfunctional marriages, terminal diseases and homesickness for Africa, the question lnchester why would anybody want it. As Leo Robson observed in the New Statesman: The implication is that the habit of thoughtless spending doesn’t change merely because your finances do.

Sadly, the Prologue remains the best part of the book. Among them are a Polish man working as a builder, a well-educated Hungarian woman who takes a job as a nanny, a Senegalese footballer being groomed for stardom at great expense, and also Quentina, a hated local traffic warden, who is a political refugee from Zimbabwe with a university degree, and can support herself only by paying for a forged work permit.

The plain houses along Pepys Road were constructed during the late 19th century summary middle-class residents, but the 21st-century property boom has raised prices to hysterical levels. Interesting that you said it reminded you a little of Get Me Out of Here. That isn’t a dismissive description: