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Capital by John Lanchester Review

Title: Capital

Author: John Lanchester

First published February 20, 2012

577 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780571234608 (ISBN10: 0571234607)

Rating: 3.71


In his latest work, acclaimed author John Lanchester takes us on a journey through the dark alleys of the modern world. Against the backdrop of a world in turmoil, the residents of London’s Marlowe Street are faced with a series of mysterious postcards reading “We Want What You Have”.

As the financial crisis looms large, tensions rise, and the lives of an eclectic group of characters intersect in unexpected ways. From a struggling shop owner to a wealthy banker and his shopaholic wife, from an elderly woman facing her own mortality to a young soccer star with a bright future ahead, Lanchester expertly weaves their stories together in a gripping tale of love, loss, and betrayal.

At once epic in scope and intensely intimate, this is a novel that captures the zeitgeist of our times with extraordinary insight and skill.

About the Author

John Lanchester has written four novels and three non-fiction books. He was born in Germany but later moved to Hong Kong.

After completing his studies in the UK, he became a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. In 2008, he received the E.M. Forster Award.

Today, he resides in London.

Editoral Review

Capital, written by John Lanchester, is a novel that depicts the changing face of London, in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Published on February 20, 2012, this novel is set in the changing landscape of London in the late 2000s, and as the title suggests, it deals with the themes of money, power, and modern capitalism.

John Lanchester is an acclaimed British author, journalist, and commentator. Capital is his fifth novel, and it has been hailed as one of the most nuanced and insightful works of fiction to address the issues of modern capitalism.

Lanchester’s expertise in economics and journalism is evident in his writing, as he deftly weaves together the social, economic, and political issues that have shaped contemporary London. At its core, Capital is a novel about the lives of ordinary people who reside in a gentrified street in south London, and the impact of the financial crisis on their lives.

The novel takes place over the course of one year, and it explores the lives of the residents of the fictional Pepys Road. Each chapter features a different character, giving the reader a glimpse into their lives, hopes, and fears, as they navigate the challenges of modern life.

The characters in Capital are diverse, and they come from different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. At the center of the novel is the family of Roger Yount, a wealthy banker, and his wife Arabella.

Other characters include Petunia Howe, an elderly resident who has lived on the street for over fifty years, and Zbigniew, a Polish builder who is struggling to make ends meet. Lanchester skillfully captures the complexities of each character, highlighting their strengths, weaknesses, and foibles.

One of the strengths of Capital is Lanchester’s writing style. He has a talent for weaving together different stories and perspectives, creating a rich and multi-layered narrative.

His descriptions of London are vivid, capturing the city’s energy and diversity. He also has a gift for dialogue and characterization, bringing his characters to life with sharp and perceptive prose.

In terms of weaknesses, some critics have argued that the plot is thin and lacks direction. However, this is a minor quibble, as the focus of the novel is more on character and atmosphere than plot.

Additionally, some readers might find the depiction of London’s working-class communities to be stereotypical, although this is a matter of personal interpretation. Overall, Capital is an engrossing and insightful novel that offers a nuanced portrait of modern London.

Lanchester’s skilled writing and insightful analysis of social and economic issues make this book a must-read for anyone interested in the impact of capitalism on contemporary society. Though the book was published almost a decade ago, its themes and insights are still relevant today.

Therefore, we recommend this book to anyone interested in contemporary fiction, economics, or social and political issues. Capital is an insightful and affecting novel that provides a timely commentary on a changing world.

On a five-point scale, we would give this book a rating of 4.5, for its expert handling of complex themes, vivid characters, and evocative setting.