Capital: A Novel (Hardcover)

Capital: A Novel Cover Image
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June 2012 Indie Next List

“Capital begins with the households of London's Pepys Road each receiving a card that states, 'We want what you have.' Those menacing and mysterious notes are the jumping off point for Lanchester's brilliant exploration of modern London. From the financial trader in the midst of growing midlife and career crises, to the Pakistani family struggling with faith and family, to a dying woman and her street artist son, Lanchester effortlessly weaves myriad stories into brief chapters to create a written tapestry of remarkable color and depth.”
— Catherine Weller, Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, UT


From the best-selling author of The Debt to Pleasure, a sweeping social novel set at the height of the financial crisis.

Celebrated novelist John Lanchester (“an elegant and wonderfully witty writer”—New York Times) returns with an epic novel that captures the obsessions of our time. It’s 2008 and things are falling apart: Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers are going under, and the residents of Pepys Road, London—a banker and his shopaholic wife, an old woman dying of a brain tumor and her graffiti-artist grandson, Pakistani shop owners and a shadowy refugee who works as the meter maid, the young soccer star from Senegal and his minder—are receiving anonymous postcards reading “We Want What You Have.” Who is behind it? What do they want? Epic in scope yet intimate, capturing the ordinary dramas of very different lives, this is a novel of love and suspicion, of financial collapse and terrorist threat, of property values going up and fortunes going down, and of a city at a moment of extraordinary tension.

About the Author

John Lanchester is the best-selling author of the novels The Debt to Pleasure, Capital, and The Wall, among others other works of fiction and nonfiction. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages and his books have won the Hawthornden Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Prize, the E. M. Forster Award, and been longlisted for the Booker Prize. A regular contributor to the London Review of Books and The New Yorker, he lives in London.

Praise For…

An exceptionally capacious and involving tale about disparate lives in turmoil on London’s Pepys Road…. Lanchester makes us care deeply about his imperiled characters and their struggles, traumatic and ludicrous, as he astutely illuminates the paradoxes embedded in generosity and greed, age and illness, financial crime and religious fanaticism, immigration, exile, and terror. A remarkably vibrant and engrossing novel about what we truly value.
— Donna Seaman - Booklist

Searching, expert, on the money. I loved it.
— Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland

Effortlessly brilliant—gripping for its entire duration, hugely moving and outrageously funny.
— Observer (UK)

Capital comes in a great tradition of novels which are filled with the news of now, in which the intricacies of the present moment are noticed with clarity and relish and then brilliantly dramatized. It is clear that its characters, its wisdom, and the scope and range of its sympathy, will fascinate readers into the far future.

— Cólm Toibín, author of Brooklyn

Precise, humane and often hilarious, John Lanchester’s Capital teems with life. Its Dickensian sweep and its clear-eyed portrayal of the end of a strange era make this novel not only immensely enjoyable, but important, too.

— Claire Messud, author of The Emperor’s Children

expert, on the money.  I loved it.
— Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland­­­

As enrapturing as it is psychologically acute… Capital portrays an authentic slice of contemporary life on the eve of change in a way that recalls Franzen—with a welcome touch of wry humor.

— Bookpage

Brimming with perception, humane empathy and relish, its portrayal of this metropolitan miscellany is, in every sense, a capital achievement.
— Times on Sunday (UK)

It is Lanchester’s gifts for observation and description that make Capital such a riveting read. It is a novel in which every few chapters a sentence will provoke an "I wish I had said that" reaction or, when it is a familiar thought, an: "I wish I had said that so well." … Above all, Lanchester should be applauded for a novel that is as readable as it is clever. He never attempts to prove his own intelligence, yet it oozes from every page.

— Evening Standard (UK)

The book John Lanchester was born to write.
— The Guardian (UK)

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393082074
ISBN-10: 0393082075
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: June 11th, 2012
Pages: 528
Language: English

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