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Capital | [John Lanchester]

Capital

Pepys Road: an ordinary street in the Capital. Each house has seen its fair share of first steps and last breaths, and plenty of laughter in between. Today, through each letterbox along this ordinary street drops a card with a simple message: We Want What You Have.
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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for: UK Author of the year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012

Pepys Road: an ordinary street in the Capital. Each house has seen its fair share of first steps and last breaths, and plenty of laughter in between. Today, through each letterbox along this ordinary street drops a card with a simple message: We Want What You Have. Following the residents of Pepys Road, Capital features a cast of characters that you will be sad to leave behind.

©2012 John Lanchester (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (169 )
5 star
 (70)
4 star
 (63)
3 star
 (25)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.1 (126 )
5 star
 (49)
4 star
 (49)
3 star
 (23)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.3 (127 )
5 star
 (66)
4 star
 (45)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Kaggy 09/03/2014
    Kaggy 09/03/2014 Member Since 2013

    Reads anything within reason

    HELPFUL VOTES
    296
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    139
    132
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    FOLLOWING
    70
    12
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    Performance
    Story
    "Teems with London life"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bookworm MeckPomm 12/02/2013
    Bookworm MeckPomm 12/02/2013 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
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    130
    8
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    Overall
    "A capital listen"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jane joensen 17/07/2014
    jane joensen 17/07/2014 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    33
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    Story
    "My kind of book"
    Would you listen to Capital again? Why?

    I never read a book twice but if I did, I would, as there are many quirks and details.


    What other book might you compare Capital to, and why?

    The Capital revolves around a street and its occupants. Listening to it is a bit like watching Coronation Street or Eastenders only in a posher place.


    What does Colin Mace bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    I like Colin's voice and listening to a book is brilliant when the narrator imitates different accents and dialects. CM is marvelous at that.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book kept me wanting to listen non stop to find out about Who, Why and When?


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Natalie London, United Kingdom 20/06/2013
    Natalie London, United Kingdom 20/06/2013 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    7
    7
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    1
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    Story
    "Lots of good ideas"

    This book is full of good ideas but is perhaps let down by just how many of those ideas there are. Some of the characters and stories are great but some are a bit clichéd and you find yourself inevitably looking forward to getting back to the bits that interest you more. It's especially puzzling when you look back on the (long) book and realise that some characters only appeared once or twice.

    I found a couple of the storylines quite predictable although that didn't necessarily detract from my overall enjoyment. And I would have liked more well-drawn female characters who I felt (with the exception of one touching mother and daughter storyline) were somewhat two-dimensional.

    Overall definitely worth reading: enjoyable, great pace, funny and moving in places. But somehow not quite as satisfying as I wanted it to be.

    I thought the read was really good. I both read and listed to this book and the two slotted together perfectly, in large part thanks to the quality of the read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Mitcham, United Kingdom 23/03/2013
    Deborah Mitcham, United Kingdom 23/03/2013 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Overall
    "Engrossing listen"

    I purchased both the print book of this novel and the audio book and have to say that I really appreciated the novel most when it was brought to life in audio. It's a lively and engaging listen with several laughs along the way. Great stories about slightly stereotypical figures in London.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Newbridge, Ireland 21/07/2012
    Laura Newbridge, Ireland 21/07/2012 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    66
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    135
    45
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    "Highly recommended"

    I normally like to see some reviews prior to purchasing but something about this one grabbed my attention when it was just released. I was not disappointed. I give this book a 5 for original concept and a good cracking listen. Kept me interested all the way.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs Guildford, United Kingdom 15/11/2012
    Mrs Guildford, United Kingdom 15/11/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    Overall
    "A Must Listen"

    As a tale of London life this is a magical book full of humour and pathos. It can also make you squirm when it comes too close to home. The narrator is just right and vibrantly bring the characters to life.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Sheffield, United Kingdom 15/06/2015
    Karen Sheffield, United Kingdom 15/06/2015 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    190
    168
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a lot of characters"
    Any additional comments?

    brought in slowly so you don't feel overwhelmed by them. there is a lot of truth about people and there reactions to circumstances.
    prudence, the first person we meet is an old lady, and in time needs to see a specialist for a medical condition. she looks a him and thinks "he's only 17" then realises he must be in his thirties. there are lots of little insights like this and it is these that keep you listening and enjoying the book.
    the reason I haven't given it a 5 star is I thought it was a bit too long. I thought when the police were brought to deal with the harassment the book would be coming to an end but it went on for another 4 hours mainly about suspected terrorist and an illegal immigrant.
    colin mace brought the story to life, giving the many characters voices and emotions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Di 07/05/2015
    Di 07/05/2015

    Audible is keeping me entertained on my long commute to London. Enjoy but not limited to crime/mystery/history/psychology & the mixture

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    36
    26
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    "He just managed to capture the London life in full"

    I was astonished by the detail in which John Lanchester has managed to capture the London life, in all nuances, layers and in such detail. I listened to this book with such interest, unable to put it down! It was such a true description, I lived in Clapham for more than six years myself, and then in the area for over 11 years, so it really felt like I had a closer glimpse into my neighbours' lives! It is more true for Clapham than anywhere else in London that the change for the past couple of generations is unbelievable, and this area is still climbing up the market, with property prices going through the roof!! This is a collection of stories about London life, so colourful, so unpredictable! I almost did not believe when I came to the end of the book, as I if expected the stories to go on, a bit like reality tv, it was addictive to have this peek into other people's lives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob 08/07/2014
    Rob 08/07/2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Capital read"
    What did you like most about Capital?

    The weaving of the different characters' stories to build up a picture of life in Pepys Road.


    What other book might you compare Capital to, and why?

    The minute attention to detail is similar to John Lanchester's first novel The Debt to Pleasure or any Tom Wolfe novel.


    Have you listened to any of Colin Mace’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Any of the chapters with Roger and Arabella are hilariously written.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Roxalanne
    Canberra, Australia
    28/01/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful slice of London life"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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