Capital by John Lanchester
A Novel

76%

11 Critic Reviews

Some of the stories end happily or on a note of dogged optimism, but others are jarringly tragic. Mr. Lanchester understands that, like wealth, misfortune is distributed unequally.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

One of the most talked about books of the year, Capital is a sweeping social novel by the writer hailed on the cover of the New York Times Book Review as “a brainy, pleasure-loving polymath.”


Celebrated novelist John Lanchester (author of The Debt to Pleasure) returns with an epic novel that captures the obsessions of our time. It’s 2008 and 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.
 

About John Lanchester

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John Lanchester is the author of The Debt to Pleasure (winner of the Whitbread and Hawthornden prizes) and Mr. Phillips. Raised in Hong Kong, he now lives in London with his wife and sons.
 
Published June 11, 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company. 584 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Capital
All: 11 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Liesl Schillinger on Jul 12 2012

..."Capital," a modern offshoot of juicy social satires...

Read Full Review of Capital: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by John Mullan on Mar 01 2013

The control on narrative viewpoint is the chapter structure. Each of the 107 short chapters belongs to one person...their stories interleaved, we pass briefly through the consciousness of any number of peripheral personalities.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Claire Tomalin on Mar 03 2012

He tells a good story. He gives you a lot to think about. This is an intelligent and entertaining account of our grubby, uncertain, fragmented London society that has almost replaced religion with shopping. Read it.

Read Full Review of Capital: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Theo Tait on Feb 24 2012

Plotwise, Lanchester has chosen not to have the staple set-piece of the panoramic novel: the climactic scene where all the disparate characters meet. This has the advantage of being true to London...

Read Full Review of Capital: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Karl Wolff on Jan 07 2014

Mr. Lanchester has written a great novel about the Great Recession from the perspective of a South London street. It is a literary monument to the obsessions, fears, and foibles of everyone when the global economy collapsed around them.

Read Full Review of Capital: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Sam Sacks on Jun 11 2012

Some of the stories end happily or on a note of dogged optimism, but others are jarringly tragic. Mr. Lanchester understands that, like wealth, misfortune is distributed unequally.

Read Full Review of Capital: A Novel | See more reviews from WSJ online

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Lizzie Skurnick on Jun 08 2012

John Lanchester's brilliant Capital, set on a once-ordinary London block whose housing prices have skyrocketed, has the distinction of being the first brick-and-mortar novel set squarely in our current times.

Read Full Review of Capital: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

NY Journal of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Karl Wolff on Jun 11 2013

Mr. Lanchester has written a great novel about the Great Recession from the perspective of a South London street. It is a literary monument to the obsessions, fears, and foibles of everyone when the global economy collapsed around them.

Read Full Review of Capital: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Globe and Mail

Above average
Reviewed by Matt Kavanagh on Jun 29 2012

...misses out on being the novel of the decade. We’re still waiting for that one, the novel that pulls hard on the invisible threads connecting the speculative spaces of finance to the subjective realm of the self.

Read Full Review of Capital: A Novel | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Alex Good on Jul 07 2012

To be sure there will be change, but Lanchester leaves us with no reason to think it will be for the better.

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LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Martin Rubin on Aug 29 2012

...one of the few contemporary books that seems destined to be read a hundred years from now, both for its innate qualities as fiction and for its valuable portrait of the way we lived on the crest of that mad wave of unrealistic expectation.

Read Full Review of Capital: A Novel | See more reviews from LA Times

Reader Rating for Capital
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 293 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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