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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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