Banking is fiction’s hidden profession. Despite decades of financial expansion, novelists and playwrights have struggled to imagine a contemporary Shylock or Augustus Melmotte, the shadowy star of Anthony Trollope’s “The Way We Live Now”. A quarter of a century has passed since Tom Wolfe dreamt up Sherman McCoy, the bond trader who personified the arrogance and greed of an earlier boom in “The Bonfire of the Vanities”. With the crisis wreckage still smouldering, the character ...more
I have to say, the first third of the book I was very into it. Plots were developing, c ...more
1. The city or town that functions as the seat of government and administrative capital of the country or region: Warsaw is the capital of Poland.
* (with modifier) a place associated more than any other with a specified activity or product: the fashion capital of the world.
2. (mass noun) wealth in the form of money or other assets owned by a person or organisation or available for a purpose such as s ...more
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 ...more
"Over its history, almost everything that could have happened in the street had happened. Many, many people had fall ...more
I had hoped for so much more. The Debt Crisis and War on Terror through a sketch by Boz, only it wasn't. Disparate threads elucidating nothing, cue the (Jonathan) Coe feel goodish ending. D ...more
Pepys Road is one of the many places around London built to house the Lower Middle Class in Victorian Times which have got more and more valuable in the seemingly endless post war housing bubbleboom. It's a mystery, told from the perspective of a few residents of the road - someone is gently stalking the resi ...more
Like these other books, CAPITAL presents a panoramic view: in this case, of London at the cusp of a new and turbulent economic age. He focuses on a cross-section of residents and workers on a fictional and prestigious London treat including a well-heeled banker and his shopaholic ...more
Capital is a book not so much about a city as about its people. Its epicentre is a south London street, Pepys Road--Everystreet, in all but name. Its dramatis personae are the street's r ...more
Lets give it a go.
It's a lengthy book in very short chapters and an incredibly simple premise. The inhabitants of a South London Street are receiving sinister, anonymous "we want what you have messages". Like that film where the owners are left videos of their house on the doorstep. I forget the name.
This allows us t ...more
The book also disappointed in that it set up an expectation, ...more
Roger and Arabella Yount are the rich high-flyers who are clearly destined for a financial meltdown. ...more
Lanchester takes the big theme of Capital, sets the scene in London in the build-up to the Global Financial Crisis, and zooms in on a single London residential street.
His focus brings an intimate, human scale to the bigger story being played out.
The terraced houses of Pepys Road were originally built to attract the lower middle class to an unfashionable area of London.But times have changed and thestreet has been gentrifie ...more
But there's something that runs counter to this stylistic banality: the novel has no plot. Sure, sure, there's the "who is sending the no ...more
In mid 2009, about two years after John Lanchester had started working on "Capital", and three years before it would be published, Sebastian Faulks' "A Week in December" made its appearance. John must have been gutted. Firstly because the two novels are so similar: both examine the antics and fates of a group of entirely fictitious people in London at the time of the 2007 financial collapse; both weave separate but ultimately linked stories together using the same technique (short-ish chap...more
In the London Review of Books, among other venues, he has written on everything from the global expansion of Kraft Foods to the future of newspapers (please, God). His greatest asset may be that he has no fo ...more