Book Review: Capital by John Lanchester

A book I downloaded on the Kindle just like that. I don’t think I even checked the reviews. Ages ago. As usual it sat on my Kindle for months. Until I ran out of books to read.


It is set in Pepys Road, residential street in London. A row of terraced homes with a variety of residents, ranging from high flying city professionals, pensioners to young aspiring footballers. Each of the residents and those who work in or around the street are chronicled. Their lives, loves and motivation, each as different as possible from the next.

Roger is a high flying city professional who works in a financial institution. He leads the kind of life that is the envy of others. Big houses, fancy holidays, and his wife Arabella who spends money without a thought. They live life like there’s no tomorrow. Buying stuff, renovating their house, employing nannies.. the works. Roger regularly gets a bonus that is larger than his already massive salary.

Mrs Howe lives on Pepys Road, in the house that she shared with her husband for years. The house has been in her family for years. Getting on with her years, she misses her daughter and has started feeling a little rundown.

The tale takes us through the ins and out of lives in and around Pepys Road. The au pairs who work in the luxurious houses, the builders and workers who make the houses as luxurious as they come to be, traffic wardens who are hated by everybody, the Pakistani family, which ran the corner shop… Some who have lived there all their lives, others who are immigrants, out to make a better life for themselves. Different people. Different lives, but they had one thing in common. Each of them, living on that street had a postcard popping in through their letter boxes, ‘You have what we want’.

It’s an interesting, epic of a book, sometimes a tad tedious, but yet interesting, for me. I’ve come to realise that I like epic books like these, full of vivid details, full of seemingly unconnected lives which are bound together in ways that they are completely oblivious to. Books that take you the place they describe, seemingly effortlessly. I would recommend it, only if you like books of this sort, books which don’t have a definite end, and may even seem purposeless, but give you a flavor of the life that the protagonists lead

About the Author
John Lanchester is the author 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 2008 E.M. Forster Award. He lives in London.

This book is available on Amazon(UK).


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