I listened to John Lanchester when he read from his book Capital and knew I had to read it. It is about London after all – or rather about a street in London. It tells the tale of several families and their sorrows and joys in 2008. Their lives are disrupted by postcards, followed by nastier messages.
The book is also about suspected and real criminal activity, fraudulent and destructive behaviour, love in various forms and great despair. The „hurly-burly of family life“, as the author puts it, is presented to the reader without judgement. The double entendre of the title stayed with me throughout the story – and on a recent visit to London, I was wondering whether it would always be the place of choice for those who have made this city truly great – its people from all over the world and their creative approach to life.
A friend recommended the other story to me. Luckily, one of my favourite London bookshops had this little gem in stock. Dag Solstad’s Professor Andersen’s Night is a fascinating study on solitude, inner monologues, their sometimes rather destructive and misleading nature and on friendships and how they evolve over time. I think it’s a novella. Would you agree?