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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 (134 )
5 star
 (52)
4 star
 (54)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.1 (93 )
5 star
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3 star
 (15)
2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (94 )
5 star
 (47)
4 star
 (33)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
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  •  
    Kaggy 09/03/2014
    Kaggy 09/03/2014 Member Since 2010

    Audible addict. Listens while commuting,walking and any chance possible. Enjoys all genres although is yet to read a sporting biography.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    159
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    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susana Rostock, Germany 12/02/2013
    Susana Rostock, Germany 12/02/2013 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
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    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jane joensen 17/07/2014
    jane joensen 17/07/2014 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
    4
    ratings
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    "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
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    "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 2008
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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
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    "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
  •  
    Rob 08/07/2014
    Rob 08/07/2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    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
  •  
    Ian PLYMOUTH, United Kingdom 15/05/2014
    Ian PLYMOUTH, United Kingdom 15/05/2014 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great cast of characters"

    Firstly, the narrator was fantastic. Thank you Colin Mace. I enjoyed this book immensely. It is the story of the inhabitants of one London street in the years 2007 to 2008- when the financial crash set in-and the story of their lives. There is Roger-a banker directly affected by the crash and various characters in between to old Mrs Letherby who is not affected by the crash in any way but who has her own story that is just as absorbing. All these characters hardly ever interact but are propelled forward by a very thin common plot line and the absorbing nature of their own stories. You could argue that many of these individual stories are stereotypical, but the characters are delightfully drawn and I felt genuinely sad to leave them and not know how their stories ended. Was it Poland or Hungary or London? Or was it Poland and Hungary! Zimbabwe or the UK, The countryside or the City? Ah we will never know.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy Ramsgate, United Kingdom 04/05/2014
    Wendy Ramsgate, United Kingdom 04/05/2014 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun for curtain-twitchers and window-lickers"

    An enjoyable nose through the windows of Pepys Road. Not exactly gripping or plot driven, but great fodder for nosy neighbours who'd like to know what's going on next door. Some of the characters and situations are familiar, if not downright cliched, but this does have some thought provoking events and makes you think harder about other people's points of view and experiences. Overall, an enjoyable distraction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 11 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • 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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