What an absolutely wonderful book. It was like what Don Delillo was trying to do with Underworld except successful at it.
If I had one small complaint, it’s that maybe there could have been a bit tighter plot and there were no characters representing the white or black middle class.
Other than those two things, Lanchester was marvelous in this book. Even though it was very “literatury” meaning there wasn’t some thick plot like a grocery store paperback or prime time action drama, the characters within it shined. Each and every one crushed terrible stereotypes and celebrated ones based on reality and most of all every character even the shallow rich ones felt real.
I can’t and won’t go into detail here, but the Polish and Hungarian immigrants, the Pakistanis, the rich banking upper class all looked very much like you would expect but also did some things that set them apart as individuals. For example the rich housewife didn’t just become automatically jealous at the hot nanny her husband hired.
That example was minute but still it’s one that shows how rich each of these characters are and helps shed light on families that may not be like our own.
On a different level I’m an American and I love reading about things and ideas foreign to me and although I visited London and have physically been there I didn’t feel like I knew the spirit of the city and Lanchester’s Capital has helped me understand it a little better. This book is today’s Dickens novel it paints a very real life feeling of London in modern times.