John Lanchester

Celebrated novelist John Lanchester (author of The Debt to Pleasure) returns with an epic novel that captures the obsessions of our time.

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.

Capital book cover

This was a very complex novel, not in terms of what I understood but I think more in the ideas it tries to convey. On the surface, it’s just a glimpse into the lives of a few people and is not very remarkable for anything else, but the way in which it captures these people’s feelings, beliefs, goals and dreams is actually very well done. I didn’t get the thrill of a fantastic space battle, nor the unmasking of a spy or adrenaline rush of a thriller. But there’s a lot of subtlety to everyone, isn’t there? People, and by that I mean every person, has their own agenda, and it’s refreshing, even though it took me over 4 hours to read this thing, it’s refreshing to see that depicted in such an approachable, readable, and yes indeed enjoyable way.

Published by Sean Randall

I am an avid reader, technologist and disability advocate living in the middle of England with my wife, daughter and pets.

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