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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

"Capital" by John Lanchester

This book chronicles a year in the live of some of the people who live in, or are connected to, Pepys Road, a London street where the property prices dwarf anything that anyone can actually earn.

There is the Pakistani shopkeeper, his wife and children and his two Moslem brothers who are expecting a visit from their formidable mother. There is the city banker who needs a Christmas bonus of a million pounds to make ends meet because of the extravagance of his wife and the lifestyle they have evolved; they help to pay for a Hungarian nanny and a Polish builder. There is the old lady who is feeling unwell, her daughter and her grandson who is a famously anonymous artist. There is the million pound new soccer signing from Senegal, a seventeen year old wizard and his dad. And there is the Zimbabwean asylum seeker who has an illegal job as a traffic warden.

The plot revolves around the delivery of postcards saying 'We want what you have' and the consequences. As such it is a trivial plot device; I was much more interested in the details of the lives of the characters which were quite enough to carry the story on their own.

The author explicitly tells you back story and thoughts of each character; there are no surprises. This was 'tell, don't show' with a vengeance. And yet it very quickly got me engrossed in the stories. I really wanted to know what happened next. There weren't many surprises, but in each case there was plot development and many characters developed too. It was simply written but it worked very well.

Beware assistants!

This was a three part BBC TV series in November to December 2015.

A good read. October 2014; 577 pages.

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