Friday, 15 March 2013

Capital- John Lanchester

So, the first book up for review is Capital by John Lancaster. It’s a bit of a shame that this is the first one, as this book was so disappointing.
The Plot: The residents of an affluent London street receive anonymous postcards with an intriguing message “We want what you have”.
Captial, review, John Lanchester, Oyster card, map, paperback book, book cover, UK, England, read
Lancaster is a previous recipient of the Whitbread Award and Capital has been well received by the press, but I found it very average. It is not necessarily a bad read, it is just not very memorable and the characters are clich├ęd. The Polish man is a builder, the banker is a wanker and the Muslim family have links to terrorism. In my opinion, it is lazy writing to rely this heavily on stereotypes.  Each chapter focuses of one of the residents of Pepys road, but because of the writing style is doesn't feel like each character has an individual and distinctive voice. 
I didn’t  care who was sending the postcards or why, it seemed to be just a flimsy plot device to connect the characters. Am I meant to ask myself do I want what the characters have? Because the answer is a really obvious no.
The novel does have some good points. I liked the chapters that focused on Quentina, a Zimbabwean refugee traffic warden. Her story raised interesting questions about seeking asylum and working illegally. It would have been better if Lancaster had devoted an entire book to Quentina instead of the unappealing caricatures of Britain’s middle class.

Have you read it? What did you think?
Buy it here

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the characters aren't particularly well developed, but didn't you think the book captured time & place quite well? ..... Maybe I just liked references to tube stops and London attractions I know. I wonder if non-Londoners would have enjoyed that at all!