John Lanchester talks about Capital, his sweeping new social novel set in London at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. The economic shift plays out among the residents of Pepys Road, London—a banker and his posh wife, an old woman and her graffiti-artist grandson, Pakistani shop owners, a refugee who works as the meter maid, a young soccer star from Senegal.
London has had plenty of reasons to celebrate lately. Last April was the Royal Wedding, and just a few weeks ago thousands commemorated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. But behind these posh events, and the billions of dollars in taxes they require, is a struggling citizenry that has been plagued by terrorism, and more recently, widespread rioting.