Nominated by:

Dunedin Public Libraries, New Zealand

Miami Dade Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Faber & Faber, UK

W.W. Norton, USA


John Lanchester      

2014 Longlist

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.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

John Lanchester was born in Hamburg in 1962. He has worked as a football reporter, obituary writer, book editor, restaurant critic, and deputy editor of the London Review of Books, where he is a contributing editor. He is a regular contributor to the New Yorker. He has written four novels: The Debt to Pleasure, Mr Phillips and Fragrant Harbour, and Capital, and two works of non-fiction: Family Romance, a memoir; and Whoops!: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay, about the global financial crisis. His books have won the Hawthornden Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Prize, E.M Forster Award, and the Premi Llibreter, been longlisted for the Booker Prize, and been translated into twenty-five languages. He is married, has two children and lives in London

Librarians’ Comments

Set in one street in London about the lives of its many and varied inhabitants. Very modern, all interesting characters.

A Dickensian novel about what we truly value, shows how the easy-money era affected not just the greedy but the society that fattened around them. We sympathize with the homeowners residing on the gentrified street called Pepys Road, London, and the labourers employed by them. It’s a year 2008 snapshot of how the economic woes and terrorism jitters affect Engligh customs and class distinctions.

Related Entries