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John Lanchester

Author of The Debt to Pleasure

16+ Works 5,824 Members 244 Reviews 9 Favorited

About the Author

John Lanchester was the deputy editor of the London Review of Books and the restaurant critic for the London Observer. He is the author of a second novel, Mr. Phillips, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker. He lives in London. (Publisher Provided)

Includes the names: John Lanchester, John Lanchaster

Works by John Lanchester

Associated Works

The Driver's Seat (1970) — Introduction, some editions — 980 copies
Mortification: Writers' Stories of Their Public Shame (2003) — Contributor — 278 copies
Granta 65: London (1999) — Contributor — 222 copies
Peking Story: The Last Days of Old China (1960) — Introduction, some editions — 209 copies
Granta 52: Food : The Vital Stuff (1995) — Contributor — 146 copies
Granta 95: Loved Ones (2006) — Contributor — 119 copies
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018 (2018) — Contributor — 109 copies
Writers on writing (2002) — Contributor — 29 copies

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Reviews

Very readable account of the causes of the credit crunch. Certainly was believable, although I would like to hear the opinions of someone who understands the financial world better than me. Lanchester was not particularly optimistic at the end of the book, which again is, sadly, all too credible.
 
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thisisstephenbetts | 25 other reviews | Nov 25, 2023 |
a dystopian story that's hypnotic and so, so claustrophobic...this is a future that we humans might just be foolish and careless enough to bring down on us, and maybe soon, too...

i've just finished this and i feel spent.

concrete, water, wind, sky...concrete, water, wind, sky...
 
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riida | 50 other reviews | Oct 20, 2023 |
A bit heavy-handed, but maybe that’s why this book is so good - because it’s premise is so terrifyingly real.

After a slow start I could not put it down until the end.
 
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KristinDiBum | 50 other reviews | Jul 21, 2023 |
Some people have just too much money and too little social conscious. That's the message I took from this book.

Most of the action in this book revolves around people who live in or work on Pepys Road, a now upper class street in London. The houses on the street were built in the late nineteenth century, all of them three storeys high but individual features for each house. Originally, lower-middle-class families lived in them but by the latter part of the twentieth century it started to appeal to middle-class people. They started to renovate the houses adding substantially to the value. By 2007, when the book starts, the average house price was over a million pounds and you had to be rich to live there. The person who has lived most of her life on Pepys Street is Petunia Howe. Her grandfather was one of the original owners and the family have continued to be owners. Across the road from Petunia live the Yount family, 40 year old Roger, his wife Arabella and their two children, Joshua and Conrad. Roger works in finance while Arabella stays home although they have a nanny to look after the boys.The shop at the end of the road is owned by the Kamals and Ahmed Kamal, his wife Rohinka, and their two children live above the shop. Ahmed's brothers, Usman and Shahid also work in the shop but live elsewhere. And then there's the house owned by Mickey Lipton-Miller which is an investment property that is rented out to footballers who play for the football club that he works for. The house is soon to be occupied by Patrick Kamo and his son, football wizard, Freddy Kamo The other notable characters in the book are workers who perform various services. There's the Yount's nanny, Matya, hired by Roger after Arabella left him to look after the children on his own over Christmas; there's Zbigniew, a Polish builder who is frequently hired to work on houses on Pepys Road; and we can't forget the "most unpopular woman in Pepys Road", Quentina Mkfesi, a refugee from Zimbabwe, who is the parking warden for the area.

All of these people interact regularly but it's safe to say they don't really know each other. The class system is alive and well on Pepys Road. Maybe it is someone from the working class who starts to leave postcards showing the front of the houses with the words "We Want What You Have" in the mail. They arrive regularly and then are followed by videos and then a website springs up. The house owners start to feel worried and wonder what this will escalate into. Meanwhile, their own lives seem to get more difficult. Roger Yount's year end bonus, which he hoped would be a million pounds (!!!) turned out to only be thirty thousand pounds. This is not nearly enough to finance their lifestyle and economies will have to be made. Petunia Howe starts to have falls and is soon diagnosed with a brain tumour. It's inoperable so she returns to Pepys Road to die with her daughter Mary moving in to look after her. Freddy Kamo's leg is broken in a football match and it is possible he will never be able to play football again. For the Kamals there is the stress of a visit from the family matriarch and then Shahid is arrested under the terrorism act. Would the person who is sending the "We Want What You Have" messages really want these lives? Or to put it another way "Be Careful What You Wish For".

I thought this book made some great points about overconsumption and greed and the Shahid experience was truly awful. In the end, though, I thought it was a little too disjointed for a truly satisfying read.
… (more)
½
 
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gypsysmom | 62 other reviews | Jun 30, 2023 |

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