Capital



❂ Capital kindle Epub ❆ Author John Lanchester – E17streets4all.co.uk From the best selling author of The Debt to Pleasure, a sweeping social novel set at the height of the financial crisisCelebrated novelist John Lanchester an elegant and wonderfully witty writer New Y From the best selling author of The Debt to Pleasure, a sweeping social novel set at the height of the financial crisisCelebrated novelist John Lanchester an elegant and wonderfully witty writer New York Times returns with an epic novel that captures the obsessions of our time It sand 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

John Lanchester is the author of four novels and three books of non fiction He was born in Germany and moved to Hong Kong He studied in UK He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and was awarded the EM Forster Award He lives in London.

Paperback  · Capital PDF/EPUB ò
    If you re looking for a CBR and CBZ reader 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."/>
  • Paperback
  • 577 pages
  • Capital
  • John Lanchester
  • English
  • 09 August 2019
  • 0571234623

10 thoughts on “Capital

  1. says:

    I ve formed the habit of checking on the one starreviews there are always some of each book I read, to decide if I share their view At time of writing, this book has 452 reviews and averages 4 stars, so what did the 25 odd readers out take exception to Well, in summary they say a the characters are stereotypes, b it doesn t have much story, and c it is padded with too many words Do I agree a No, this criticism in my view entirely misses the point The cast is indeed chosen I ve formed the habit of checking on the one starreviews there are always some of each book I read, to decide if I share their view At time of writing, this book has 452 reviews and averages 4 stars, so what did the 25 odd readers out take exception to Well, in summary they say a the characters are stereotypes, b it doesn t have much story, and c it is padded with too many words Do I agree a No, this criticism in my view entirely misses the point The cast is indeed chosen to represent various stereotypes of people we can glimpse every day in a South London suburb, but they are drawn with considerable skill, love and insight to reveal them as individuals I particularly loved the Polish builder, the Zimbabwean traffic warden and the investment banker and his ghastly wife b There is not much story in the dramatic sense, but this is not a book about heroes and villains it s a tapestry Each character s life had enough development to hold my interest, amuse or involve me, while adding to the multi faceted picture of London life in 2008 that is the point of the book c The style is quite baggy and prolix some of the admirably short chapters are a little static and repetitious some of the prose could be punchier That said however, it reads easily, and has plenty of pithy moments, e.g at the weekend quite a few other bankers and their wives could be seen on the Common , their pushchairs so big and unwieldy they were like infant SUVs I enjoyed it

  2. says:

    I can t say this ever engaged me much In many ways Lanchester tries to do for London what Tom Wolfe did for New York in The Bonfire of Vanities but less successfully Especially because there sdramatic tension in Wolfe s book, his characters are much richer andcomplex and he s a better prose writer than Lanchester who favours a functional rather prosaic writing style Capital is a long novel with a lot of characters, none of whom I found particularly interesting and a couple of whom I can t say this ever engaged me much In many ways Lanchester tries to do for London what Tom Wolfe did for New York in The Bonfire of Vanities but less successfully Especially because there sdramatic tension in Wolfe s book, his characters are much richer andcomplex and he s a better prose writer than Lanchester who favours a functional rather prosaic writing style Capital is a long novel with a lot of characters, none of whom I found particularly interesting and a couple of whom I found hollow pastiches the banker s wife, Arabella especially A grave fault because she was representing the dubious ethics of the higher echelon of London s social ladder But because she never came across as anything but caricature the novel s moral infrastructure never convinced for me And it s quite a judgemental novel at heart with hard lines We re called upon to boo the banker and cheer the immigrant which isn t the most demanding of challenges unless you re a racist bigot Another problem I had is there are so many characters that Lanchester spends a lot of time reminding us who they are There s a constant sense of denouements being set up but being endlessly delayed Entire chapters are often recaps of what we already know The central character is contemporary London and most of the best passages were observations about the city itself That said, I can t say I d recommend this as a trenchant insight into the backstage life of the city of my birth It often felt simplistic and glib The moral dilemmas forced and predictable In fact, half way through, I realised I d already read this novel years ago and completely forgotten about it

  3. says:

    John Lanchester had me hooked from page one of this 500 page novel My expectation was that he was going to show us how the financial meltdown of 2008 effected the lives of the people on one London street He does that to some extent, but what he really delivers is an intimate look at life right before the crash happened.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 John Lanchester had me hooked from page one of this 500 page novel My expectation was that he was going to show us how the financial meltdown of 2008 effected the lives of the people on one London street He does that to some extent, but what he really delivers is an intimate look at life right before the crash happened.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 In addition to the homeowners on the street, he delves into the lives of the handymen, meter maids and nannies on the block as well as their relatives and friends He creates a kaleidoscope view of the block that bridges class, race and religion This seeming homogenous steet is shown to be muchdiverse than we would realize at first glance.Money is the obvious thread running through the novel, but equally important are questions of identity One character is an artist who does his work anonymously, another is a refugee working under an assumed name, the housewife getting repairs doesn t call the Polish contractor by his name and a banker steals passwords to conduct trades The main thing that binds the characters is that everyone on the block has been getting postcards that say We Want What You Have The postcards are pictures of their front doors and it starts as an oddity and ends up feeling menacing Afterall, once we know what the people have, dysfunctional marriages, terminal diseases and homesickness for Africa, the question is why would anybody want it.Peel away the posh houses and the expensive cars and even before the crash there was a lot of misery Although, no one has it as bad as the meter maid a refugee from Africa desperately seeking asylum in a society that doesn t really care I m a bit heartbroken that I ve finished the book So sad to leave all these amazing characters and their stories The mystery behind We Want What You Have, may be over, but their lives go on and I can t help but wonder what happened in 2009

  4. says:

    Posh Eastenders that s basically what John Lanchester s Capital is Instead of the east end working class whose lives revolve around Albert Square, here you ve got the middle upper middle class denizens of Pepys Road A banker, a footballer, an artist, and the less wealthy who re connected to them in other capacities a builder, a nanny, a traffic warden, a granny, a spoilt wife, a wannabe jihadi, and the family that run the nearby newsagent Is it any good You don t finish a nearly 600 page n Posh Eastenders that s basically what John Lanchester s Capital is Instead of the east end working class whose lives revolve around Albert Square, here you ve got the middle upper middle class denizens of Pepys Road A banker, a footballer, an artist, and the less wealthy who re connected to them in other capacities a builder, a nanny, a traffic warden, a granny, a spoilt wife, a wannabe jihadi, and the family that run the nearby newsagent Is it any good You don t finish a nearly 600 page novel if you re not enjoying it on some level but I also wouldn t say that it s particularly brilliant either For a book of this size and ambition, it s surprisingly light and unsubstantive I notice that the blurb mentions the 2008 crash quite prominently but that s misleading there s some mention of the financial crisis towards the end of the book but it s never really about that and it doesn t affect any of the characters If there s a plot, it s that there s a mysterious campaign against the inhabitants of Pepys Road where they re sent postcards, DVDs, and, later, dead birds, in the post informing them that We Want What You Have who is we , why are they doing it, and to what end It s intriguing but it s also a barely developed storyline that s not what the book s about either and the reveal of who it was and the motives behind it are both unremarkable and underwhelming The book is really just a slice of life narrative about the various characters lives and your enjoyment of the novel will depend on how interested you are in them I liked the rather stupid banker s story getting a look into the reckless, bubble like world of the wealthy and the banking industry was engaging to me Shahid Kamal s storyline too was engrossing, if only for where it went showing us what it s like to be considered a terrorist rather than anything up to that point The other storylines are occasionally amusing but are largely unmemorable The Polish builder Zbigniew s storyline went somewhere unexpected and almost approached exciting drama, as did Roger the banker s second in command Mark s storyline But Lanchester s storytelling is almost always unhurried, making it easy to put down and, at times, frustratingly dull The problem with Lanchester s Dickensian cast of characters is that too many of them felt irrelevant and yet he spends chapter after chapter on them I mean, what was the point of Petunia s storyline She s an old lady who pottered about her house until she got a brain tumour and died Roger s wife Arabella pampers herself with outrageously expensive things so what Freddy Kamo, the teenage football star from Senegal, Quentina the traffic warden asylum seeker, Smitty the Banksy esque artist, Matya the nanny what did dwelling on any of them for pages and pages do for the overall narrative Not much in my view Which is the problem with this novel as critically acclaimed as it was, as seriously as it takes itself and briefly mentions important issues banking practices, terrorism, immigration, racism it s not really about, or says anything at all remarkable on, those things It s just snapshots of various people s lives, presented without commentary that leaves very little impression That s not to say it s an unenjoyable read or that Lanchester was wrong to have focused so much on so many characters because every character had something about them that was mildly compelling to read about at some point And Lanchester s prose is largely accessible and easy to read But Capital is also an overlong, rambling and unfocused non story that s littlethan a literary soap opera

  5. says:

    This book was not as engaging as it could have been I really like that it was about different inhabitants of one street and their individual stories However I don t think the execution was there Despite this, it was intriguing enough to keep me reading until the end.

  6. says:

    By Peter Thal LarsenBanking 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 By Peter Thal LarsenBanking 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 characters in most contemporary novels arelikely to be found robbing a bank than working for one.Roger Yount, the anti hero of John Lanchester s Capital , is therefore a rare breed As head of the currency trading department at a mid sized City of London investment bank in late 2007, he is well placed to anticipate the imminent market storm Except that Yount, who has a tenuous grasp of the complex strategies used by his traders, doesn t see it coming Instead, he sits at his desk trying to calculate the size of his bonus Then he lists the expenditure mortgages, private schools, nannies, second homes, skiing holidays, taxis that will consume his cash Sherman McCoy complained he was going broke on a million dollars a year Yount s lifestyle requires the same figure in sterling.Lanchester, whose previous book, Whoops , was an entertaining explanation of the crisis, does a good job of capturing the atmosphere inside a modern investment bank with its multinational collection of mostly men, engaged in the meritocratic pursuit of wealth Privately educated, well mannered, and British, Yount epitomises the entitled, Land Rover driving breed that colonised London sdesirable residential areas in the last decade, making them all but unaffordable for everyone else.Lanchester shares the modern Londoner s obsession with property values The book opens with a detailed description of the homes in Pepys Road, the ordinary street in the capital where Yount lives with his wife, Arabella, and two young children Built by the Victorians for the lower middle classes, the terraced houses have been so pumped up by cheap credit that they are now worth millions Having a house in Pepys Road was like being in a casino in which you were guaranteed to be a winner.Yet in its attempt to look behind all the doors of Pepys Road, the novel loses its way Lanchester introduces us to a bewildering cross section of characters the Pakistani family who run the local newsagent s, the Polish builder, the African Premier League footballer, the illegal immigrant working as a traffic warden, the old woman dying of a brain tumour, and the Banksy style artist whose main selling point is his anonymity.It s a valiant attempt to capture the diversity of life in the capital However, Lanchester struggles to manage the different story lines His solution is to carve up the book into many small sections its 600 pages are divided into 106 chapters and jump between characters Unfortunately, these snapshots reduce most of the players to two dimensional stereotypes Moreover, despite their physical proximity, they barely interact This, presumably, is Lanchester s point, but it hardly makes for a coherent narrative.In the confusion, Yount gets less attention than he deserves Though he ambles through situations rich with potential for exploring the anthropology of London investment bankers a shooting weekend in Norfolk, a team building poker night, a charity dinner the scenes feel half finished, as if Lanchester is too impatient to move on to the next section Even Yount s downfall, when it inevitably arrives, proves something of an anticlimax.Parts of Capital will resonate with anyone who has lived or worked in London over the past decade Whether it will appeal to readers without direct, recent experience of the city and the City is less clear Either way, Roger Yount is unlikely to join the thinly populated pantheon of famous fictional financiers Perhaps that will only be expanded when the rubble of the crisis has finally been cleared

  7. says:

    This book started of very promising Set against the backdrop of a very wealthy London neighborhood just before and during the beginning of the financial crisis, the book explored the lives of several very different people A banker, his selfish wife, a refugee, a soccer phenom imported from an African village, a dying woman, her daughter, a polish laborer, a family of Muslim immigrants, and a couple others.I have to say, the first third of the book I was very into it Plots were developing, c This book started of very promising Set against the backdrop of a very wealthy London neighborhood just before and during the beginning of the financial crisis, the book explored the lives of several very different people A banker, his selfish wife, a refugee, a soccer phenom imported from an African village, a dying woman, her daughter, a polish laborer, a family of Muslim immigrants, and a couple others.I have to say, the first third of the book I was very into it Plots were developing, characters were painted I m not going to say developed since most were pretty one dimensional , and I was fascinated to see how he was going to tie it all together As a reader, you know that the financial crisis is going to happen, and know that it s going to affect all these people So there s tension.The thing isnothing really happens The stories all wind themselves out There is almost no interleaving between the characters or plotlines And the financial crisis hardly changes anything For such a long book, it was very, very frustrating to get to the end and feel, Wait, is that it Clearly I m not a fan

  8. says:

    3.5 rating is about what I d give Capital This is one of those EXPANSIVE NOVELS Four Partsvaried characterssmall mysteryPepys Road, the community , on the brink of financial crisis in London, 2008If you think you d enjoy to read about the homes, streets, shops, historic city of London.With Family Drama You like long GRAND EXPANSIVE NOVELS Then you ll enjoy this book If in a hurry you might get bored Me I m in the middle I did enjoy this book, yet I think 3.5 rating is about what I d give Capital This is one of those EXPANSIVE NOVELS Four Partsvaried characterssmall mysteryPepys Road, the community , on the brink of financial crisis in London, 2008If you think you d enjoy to read about the homes, streets, shops, historic city of London.With Family Drama You like long GRAND EXPANSIVE NOVELS Then you ll enjoy this book If in a hurry you might get bored Me I m in the middle I did enjoy this book, yet I think it would still have been good if it were about 200 pages less

  9. says:

    Although it s early in the year, this novel is a finalist in my favorite book of the year contest I hadn t read anything by John Lanchester before so I was unprepared for the elegance, humor and irony in the language The book takes place in London, just before the economic collapse We meet a wide range of characters centering around a street called Pepys Street that has recently become gentrified The homes are bought by the up and coming who then pour lavish amounts of money to make the ho Although it s early in the year, this novel is a finalist in my favorite book of the year contest I hadn t read anything by John Lanchester before so I was unprepared for the elegance, humor and irony in the language The book takes place in London, just before the economic collapse We meet a wide range of characters centering around a street called Pepys Street that has recently become gentrified The homes are bought by the up and coming who then pour lavish amounts of money to make the homes into their own personal palace to include digging basements, raising roofs, expensive sound systems, the latest in kitchens although they often don t cook and luxurious baths We also meet the immigrants some legal, others not Winding it s way through the book is a common thread Every resident is getting weird postcards that say We Want What You ve Got Then a DVD arrives showing front doors, bay windows, Christmas decorations andThis was so well written, that I traded in my book credits for bookmooch.com and paperbackswap.com in order to pick up a few of his older books I m not sure when I ll get to them Right now my library pile is two books deep Then there are all the books I ve swapped and bought over the years So many books So little time However, I think I ll DEFINITELY make reading at least ONE of them a priority and soon

  10. says:

    The first two definitions for capital in the Oxford English Dictionary run thus Capital noun 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 modifiera place associatedthan 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 The first two definitions for capital in the Oxford English Dictionary run thus Capital noun 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 modifiera place associatedthan 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 starting a company or investing rules of return on invested capital were high. the excess of company s assets over its liabilities people who possess wealth and use it to control a society s economic activity, considered collectively a conflict of interest between capital and labour.with modifier figurative a valuable resource of a particular kind there is insufficient investment in human capital.We could of course go further and look at the word s prominent role in capital letters, or indeed at itsblood thirsty interest in capital punishment, but John Lancaster s novel is very much an exploration of the first two definitions Here we have the modern state of the nation epic novel The kind of thing Charles Dickens earned a crust by, or Anthony Trollope pulled off in The Way We Live Now Indeed Trollope s book is a fine comparison, examining as it does similar concerns about money and its effect on London.Yes, London is the capital in which the action takes place, butspecifically Pepys Road in the affluent South West of the city It s fitting that the street in a book about the comings and goings of London life, should be named after the finest diarist of the comings and goings of London life Here we follow various characters, either living or visiting the high flying banker, the corner shop owner, the widow who s been in the street her whole life, the Polish builder, the Hungarian nanny, and a contemporary Banksy style artist The narrative follows their lives and their fortunes through the 2007 and 2008 financial crash, putting human faces to the stark black and white headlines.However despite some fine passages and some excellent stretches, it seems that the state of the play novel is harder to pull off than it used to be.Firstly a Dickens or a Trollope or a Gissing, for that matter had far greater success in making their characters interact True, in the realistic modern London novel that s harder to do There is no forum in which everybody in a community would come together and chat and get to know each other No local factory where everybody works No regularly thrown street parties No local pub which everybody goes to Pay attention, EastEnders You are portraying an absolute fiction As such some outside element has to be introduced This Lancaster does by having a series of mysterious photographs, each showing a photo of a character s own front door, sent to residents under the banner of We Want What You Have It s a creepy touch that serves as the initial motor of the story, although it s one that will be a tad familiar to anyone who has seen Michael Haneke s Hidden , but it s also one largely perfunctory and is parked in the sidings for long stretches of the novel As a whodunit as well it s not overly successful, there s a character so ridiculously tangential to proceedings that he s fairly easily picked out as the logical suspect It works to give a connection to the characters, the same concern they all have in the back of their minds and for one chapter does serve to bring everybody together in a big community meeting However it s a scene I felt was oddly botched It should have been a cornerstone of the book, with the invisible lines between these characters breaking apart momentarily perhaps fleeting friendships would flare up, perhaps even some innocent flirting There might even have been a connection made which lasted beyond the meeting, a chance for two characters, who hitherto barely knew each other, to stand chatting on the street Instead the friendly policeman not a Pepys Road resident doing most of the talking.So okay, the interaction between characters is not overly satisfying, but then theof the book I read and it is a long book I wondered about the reality of the characters chosen Were they characters, or were they merely symbols I liked the set of chapters detailing the Younts, the most upwardly mobile figures in the book, but they are clearly characters who must obey Chekhov s rule Can a banker introduced in act one, not have suffered a humiliating fall by act three Similarly the Muslim family in the corner shop Can a young Muslim man be introduced in a twenty first century novel and not be arrested on terrorism offences by act three These are interesting characters, I liked them, but clearly they have their own dramatic rules to follow and so lose their free wills becoming obvious symbols in a greater thematic plan.Other strands are less successful Following a Zimbabwean traffic warden trudge around the streets just feels a bit of a, well, trudge While the Banksy esque just feels as if Lancaster wanted to have a pop at the absurdities of modern art, but knew he didn t have enough material for a whole book, and so littered it through this one See also the Premiership footballer, who barely makes it above the level of a cypher.As you may have guessed, this is a very cosmopolitan novel It s a novel which embraces the cosmopolitan, where all the characters are comfortable with it So it s noticeable that one strata of society not represented is the indigenous working class Yes, it s a street which has now become wealthy, but inclusion is made of visiting Polish builders and Hungarian nannies Why isn t there anyone British Why isn t there someone who can give the fings ain t what they used to be point of view This is a very liberal novel a view and standpoint I share , and it s a book where everyone readily accepts this new way of things In a Britain where the right wing press will regularly hark on about illegal immigrants and British jobs for British people both things which I know are touched upon in the sections concerning the Zimbabwean traffic warden , it does feel odd that no one makes any overt comments They would not be views I share, but they are views which clearly exist and if one is writing an epic state of the nation London novel, it seems odd not to acknowledge them If a writer is going to capture a panorama, to portray life as it happens, life in the raw, then that voice no matter how unpalatable you may find it also needs to be heard.A lot of Capital is successfully pulled off with lonely widows, Polish builders and city bankers captured with real skill and empathy Some parts are better than others, but there s a lotgood here than bad And while it s unfair to judge it solely on how well it stands up against masters like Dickens, Gissing or Trollope, it can hold itself high as something of a success in portraying modern London London living is essentially village life Your area of the city is your village and so you know that part of London and really have little clue about other areas those are other people s villages For example, I have lived in the South East of the city for fourteen years, and so somewhere like Kilburn in the North West might as well be on Mars I m shortly to move to the suburbs to embark on a quest to become Leonard Bast, but I will always have an affection for London writing This book doesn t capture my village, but it does clearly capture a village in London and at its best, creates a vivid and human portrait

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