"A vibrant piece of fiction, pulsating with events and emotions…Seems destined to be read a hundred years from now." —Martin Rubin, Los Angeles Times
Each house on Pepys Road, an ordinary street in London, has seen its fair share of first steps and last breaths, and plenty of laughter in between. But each of the street’s residents—a rich banker and his shopaholic wife, a soccer prodigy from Senegal, Pakistani shop owners, a dying old woman and her graffiti-artist son—is receiving a menacing postcard with a simple message: "We Want What You Have." Who is behind this? What do they really want? In Capital, John Lanchester ("an elegant and wonderfully witty writer"—New York Times) delivers a warm and compassionate novel that captures the anxieties of our time—property values going up, fortunes going down, a potential terrorist around every corner—with an unforgettable cast of characters.
Lanchester (The Debt to Pleasure) follows on the heels of 2010's I.O.U., a nonfiction dissection of the great recession, by covering much of the same territory in this barely allegorical study of class conflict and reversal of fortune. The affluent residents of London's Pepys Road suburb are a handy cross-section of late-2007 types: Roger Yount, a banker riding high and counting on his bonus to cover mortgages and the needs of his spoiled wife; Shahid, the son of Pakistani immigrants working the family shop; the 17-year old soccer prodigy Freddy Kamo; Quentina Mkfesi, an educated Zimbabwean refugee turned traffic warden; the elderly Petunia Howe, living repository of Pepys Road's postwar rise; and Petunia's grandson, a Banksy-type artist named Smitty. This is just a sample of the cast, most of whom begin receiving mysterious cards reading "We Want What You Have." Like clockwork, the quality of life on Pepys Road goes south, with arrests, injuries, illnesses, and financial undoing. But it's hard to care, with predictable and seldom insightful plot threads, and Lanchester reducing his characters to their socio-economic parameters as surely as the market itself. The result is an obsequious, transparent attempt at an epochal "financial crash" novel that is as thin as a 20-dollar bill.
Full of stereotypes
Boring, caricature-like characters in well-known situations ( that is you have a social-conscience a modicum of general knowledge). The sample chapter red well, but it got really boring and somewhat predictable. The writing is earnest but not inspiring in any way. Basically a waste of my time.