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Capital
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on 6 April 2015
Mixed feelings on this one. One of those stories about groups of loosely connected characters based on a London Street over a period of change. Sprinkle in some crime, deaths and even terrorism. Not a thriller, some romance but even a pinch of police procedural. Many of the characters I found dull but some were excellent. The backdrop of London as the capital in the title whilst the capital i.e. asset of property and money provided the links of the story.

Did not enthrall me but a steady story nonetheless.
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on 27 March 2013
A good story, if slightly over-long, giving us a year in the life of a disparate group of characters who all live or work in a gentrified street of terraces somewhere in south London. It's told in over 100 short chapters, which aids a speedy read, and is loosely tied together with a sub-plot of anonymous correspondence and later harassment of the residents.
With so many characters of different nationalities and backgrounds, it's hard to avoid stereotyping them. But Lanchester mainly succeeds in giving us two-dimensional people who I did begin to care about as the book progressed.
It's a book about people and their lives, hopes, and dreams but the author's also got something to say about our capital city - how it's perceived by those who've always lived there and by those who've more recently arrived in this diverse city. The other sense of capital - money - is also considered in what it means to those characters who either have plenty or who will never have enough.
Plenty of novelists have attempted the definitive London novel - the most enjoyable one for me is London Belongs to Me (Penguin Modern Classics) for a view of a very different city set 70 years ago.
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on 24 August 2015
I downloaded this ages ago when it was cheap and then just didn't fancy it once I started reading so gave up. However, in clearing up my kindle I went back to it and now it's hard to see why I was so down on it originally
It's such a good book, very entertaining with lots of human drama and events. I found I cared about the characters who were all believable and I was sorry when it was over. It was very unexpected.
All I can say, if like me you don't like the first few pages, stick with it because it really is worth it. Will certainly try some of the author's other books.
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on 2 April 2013
Is there a sequel to this ? I ask as there were so many stories and so many seemingly loose ends that I wonder if there will be a follow up. May not be necessary as life is not full of neat answers and can just drift on regardless without end or form - its just that I bought in to so many of the characters in the book it would be good to know how their life turned out eventually.....

Regardless of whether there is or not I loved this book, the characters were so well drawn and in a very short space of time the author seemed to be able to capture their mood, their thoughts, their likes and dislikes, their very essence about what made them tick that I actually felt that I knew them. Its very rare to feel that about characters in a book but I could hardly put this down as I wanted to know what was going to happen to them and how their lives would turn out. Absolutely fantastic value and I would have paid more
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on 30 May 2015
A lovely book, I am starting to feel saddened that it's coming closer to the end now that I am at chapter 64. I totally agree with the reviewer who said "the book grew on me". It is a very poignant book for people living in London and the writer's understanding and narration of people from diverse backgrounds and stages in life is impeccable. He treats his subjects with empathy and humour, while never overdoing the dramatisation, such that the book feels totally genuine.

Initially, it felt like the writer was coming from a leftie viewpoint with obvious sympathies (e.g. the sweet harmony between Ahmad and his wife vs Arabella and Roger's loveless life) but later on that feeling evaporated. Lanchaster is no Dostoevski, but reading him gives you a pleasure and appreciation similar to that experienced while watching a David Attenborough documentary.
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on 7 April 2013
The street is Pepys Road, a row of million pound houses that is also frequented by the poor and dispossessed - the nannies, builders and, most memorably, the African traffic warden who is working illegally. The author takes us through the lives of an ever-expanding cast of characters. People who are bit-part players in other people's lives become central characters in their own right. As always with most books seen from multiple viewpoints, some characters are much more interesting than others and I longed to get back to the stories that resonated most with me. I agree with other posters that the book is too long and more could have been made of one thing that unites the residents. However I don't agree that the characters lack depth. Some of them start off as stereotypes but the author gradually takes us deeper into their minds and lives and most end up as fully-rounded characters.
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on 30 March 2016
It rang true for me even if I've always avoided living there, so I can only guess it must be pretty accurate. Great range of characters depicted empathically and intelligently and touching upon a great many aspects of modern life, which cannot fail to shed light on some of the crasser elements of the capital and especially the City. No accident the book is entitled "Capital". The street, Pepys Road where most of the characters live or have a connection is also like a character in its own right. I'm glad I stumbled upon this writer by way of the BBC mini series of the same name.
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on 27 February 2014
John Lanchester has attempted a forensic, fictional analysis of London and therefore Britain, because in the first decade of the 21st century London was the only part of Britain that counted, at the time of the great bank fraud collapse. It's a brave attempt but inevitably some bits work better than others. His Asian and Zimbabwean immigrants are more attractive than the Eastern Europeans. Amazingly his investment banker is the most appealing character of all. I loved the terrorism subplot, the quiet death of Petunia, and hated the conceptual art device. But that's the thing with a state of the nation novel, especially one this long. No one is going to like it all, it cannot maintain quality throughout, and much as I enjoyed it I cannot give it a full five stars.
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on 3 June 2014
Certainly a book of differing story lines suitable for period when you are looking to read something that is a change from the normal. The characters are believable and entertaining whilst the background into their lives often provides an insight into the way of life that I had never considered before. The varying attitudes to the inhabitants of one street in London may not sound anything more than an an episode of Coronation Street, but whilst there is that same principle, the quality and storytelling are so much not in the same street.
A book well worth reading, well written and amusing in a very polished way.
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on 17 November 2017
Amazing product, just as described, amazing quality. It’s clear this is a product that customers will love as I can tell you I do. The description clearly articulates the items special perks and practicality. A product that Amazon should be proud to sell on there site.
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