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IBG Thursday Meetup - Capital by John Lanchester

Hi All,

We had a great meetup last week when we discussed Mendlessohn is on The Roof by Jiri Weill.

We all loved it and were moved by the account of different of Jewish people during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia during the Second World War.

The narrator was the author and the style was anecdotal. At times it almost read as biography of the different characters. This "matter of fact" telling of the different perspectives served to magnify the horror of the events described in which the Jewish people were debased and dehumanised.

The book felt balanced, however, as both Nazi and Aryan Czech characters, as well as Jewish, featured - this outlined the distortion and the absurdities of the Third Reich, as well as their decadence and twisted justifications and enabled them to enact the Final Solution.

Despite the subject matter, the tone was mocking of the Nazi's which made the book also very funny in parts.

As well as a statement on recent history the book was a study on humanity and human nature - how people adapt to changes in cirmcumstance and how personal morality can be flexible dependent on people's instinct to survive.

We had a really good discussion which lasted about two hours.

We then voted on the next book:

Hannah - The Beautiful Indifference by Sarah Hall ( 4 votes )

Simon - The Hare with Amber Eyes ( 0 votes )

The winner was:

Jennifer - Capital by John Lanchester ( 6 votes )

Below is a synopsis from Foyles:

"Pepys Road: an ordinary street in the Capital. Each house has seen its fair share of first steps and last breaths, and plenty of laughter in between. Today, through each letterbox along this ordinary street drops a card with a simple message: We Want What You Have. At forty, Roger Yount is blessed with an expensively groomed wife, two small sons and a powerful job in the City. An annual bonus of a million might seem excessive, but with second homes and nannies to maintain, he's not sure he can get by without it. Elsewhere in the Capital, Zbigniew has come from Warsaw to indulge the super-rich in their interior decoration whims. Freddy Kano, teenage football sensation, has left a two-room shack in Senegal to follow his dream. Traffic warden Quentina has exchanged the violence of the police in Zimbabwe for the violence of the enraged middle classes. For them all, this city offers the chance of a different kind of life. "Capital" is a post-crash state-of-the nation novel told with compassion and humour, featuring a cast of characters that you will be sad to leave behind"

It's currently only available on Kindle or Hardback and it is 577 pages long  ( I did say .... )...

I'm looking forward to reading it as it has been put forward before but didn't get voted in. Also it's about London and it's the Olympics etc etc ...

Hope to see you then,


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  • Bala

    Beautiful perspectives of the book, very interesting to someone that's not so erudite as myself. I had a great time.

    August 31, 2012

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