Grafton Public Library

Review: Capital by John Lanchester

Posted by bethg on

Capital book coverWelcome to the world of financial markets crashing and burning and those whose livelihood is adversely affected. Add to this a neighborhood in London, Pepys Road, whose residents have their own drama and you have an instructive and entertaining book of our times: Capital, by John Lanchester.

Roger works for an investment company and earns a great deal, but his wife is a shopaholic and can’t stop spending, even when things go badly for them.

Petunia is an elderly woman who is very ill and has a daughter who nurses her. The daughter is guilt-ridden because she has to leave her own family to care for her mother.

The Kamal family from Pakistan have a family-owned shop on the street and work hard at making a living. Some of the sons work harder than others.

Freddy Komo, a young soccer prospect from Senegal, is set up on Pepys Road, and he and his father Patrick have to learn western ways and how to handle large sums of money.

Added to this group of residents is Quentina, an illegal, who somehow managed to get a job giving out parking tickets. Things do not go well for her when her identity is revealed.

In the midst of all the daily goings on, postcards begin to arrive at the doors of the residents of Pepys Road that state, ”We Want What You Have.” This veiled threat continues and intensifies which makes everyone uneasy.

It’s always an unexpected pleasure when an author new to me delivers such a complete, nuanced piece of literature. I can’t help but compare Lanchester to Tom Wolfe and his work, A Man in Full. That’s high praise, indeed.

I give Capital 4 leveraged buyouts.

Happy reading from Beverly!

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