5 Words

  • Book: Capital
  • Location: London
  • Author: John Lanchester

Review Author: tripfiction



Ever wonder what goes on behind the doors in a street?

This book gives you the highs and lows of some residents in Pepys Road, London. A road originally developed for those that served others but now the houses are in a sought after, up and coming residential area.

The people and their stories you will recognise. A young footballer plucked from his native Senegal thrust into Premier League football. Now worth millions and I wonder which London club it is? We know it’s not Arsenal! A family where the extravagance and spending power is only something you can dream about; but, well, then came the financial crash…. Everything has to change.

The elderly lady who has lived her life on Pepys Road and has a grandson with another identity, living out her last days. Who is the grandson? There are crossovers with real-life people that are familiar to us all.

Then there’s the local convenience store run by the Kamal family and the impending visit of their mother, who is a force to be reckoned with, and thank goodness she is.

This book has everything and is very topical, through financial ruin, terrorist activity, and family dilemmas.

People who work on Pepys Road are also include the Polish builder, the Hungarian nanny and the traffic warden. Hidden lives. Interesting lives. Mundane lives.

I found this book very easy to read and well written, it held my attention and curiosity. Incidents happened, most predictable if you were engaged with the characters. John Lanchester has an amazing knack of being empathic with all the different characters and brilliantly illustrates what is happening in this country. It’s definitely a page turner describing the variety of cultures and lives of people working and living in London. It created many emotions in me including laughter.

But back to those five words.

‘We want what you have.’

I wonder if they really do; whoever they, he or she is. There’s a certain poignancy to these words. Read the book and find out what the thrilling theme is behind these five words.

Ann Reddy for the TripFiction team

The full review can be found on our blog

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021