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I started listening to this book while walking through St James Park and my immediate opinion was how well tha author had captured London life. The characters may at first appear to be cliches but there is no denying they exist in real life. I love the way he manages to interplay their stories without any corny contrived 'going in and out of eachother's houses'. The stories have a light tone but he tackles some serious issues including terrorism, national identity and how asylum seekers are treated. I personally think this book provides a fascinating snapshot of London life since the recession started and it would be interesting to re-visit this sometime in the future.
On a more mundane note, the book may be long but it is divided into short chapters and this makes this a very easy listen when you have to dip in and out of the story. The narrator has to convey a multitude of voices and he does a first rate job.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
I downloaded the book because of all the good reviews it received in the media. And, yes, it is a fantastic listen, not only very interesting but most entertaining and well read too. One of the best books I listened to over the past months. A real treat.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Quite like the story. Petunia is my favourite character. To me the story is not capturing enough, but thoughtful. The narrator did a great job!
The inhabitants of Pepys Road, in a London suburb, come from wide ranging cultural backgrounds and have with a variety of occupations, interests and plans for the future. The story is set in 2007-8 when the global financial crisis will affect them all in different ways.
We meet a rich young banker and his spoilt wife, a Pakistani shopkeeper and members of his family, an aging widow and her grandson, and a young Senegalese soccer star here with his father and minder. Through these characters we come to follow several others who touch their lives such as a nanny, a builder and the local traffic warden. Pepys Road itself and the people who come and go there are representative of London in all its glorious diversity.
The individual dramas in the lives of the residents are played out, while the overall story is held together by the mystery of the letter cards “We Want What You Have” as they appear. The clear detailed descriptions writing help you picture Pepys Road, the workplaces and the people. John Lanchester's understanding of so many different characters and his skill of sharing that understanding with us in natural, seemingly effortless writing is first rate.
There is thoughtful perception in the ability to think as Petunia in her eighties, or how Patrick and Freddy cope with living in UK, or the process as Zbigniew, the builder wrestles with his problems. The trepidation of the whole family awaiting the arrival of their matriarch, Mrs Kamal Snr, is humourous perfection. There are so many marvellous characters here, some you will love, some to make you laugh, some you may dislike intensely. Colin Mace narrates clearly and smoothly so the story flows and each character comes to life in your imagination.
You may run through a wide range of emotions in this book, not everything can end happily, but it is hard to stop listening until the realistic and satisfying conclusion. Capital is now a firm favourite for me and I highly recommend it, hoping many others here will share the enjoyment.