Telegraph Hill: Stranger than fiction.

Charlie Kaufman: The script I'm starting, it's about flowers. Nobody's ever done a movie about flowers before. So, so there are no guidelines... 
Donald Kaufman: What about "Flowers for Algernon"? 
Charlie Kaufman: Well, that's not about flowers. And it's not a movie. 
Donald Kaufman: Ok, I'm sorry, I never saw it. 
- Adaptation

Whitbread Book Award-winning novelist John Lanchester has released a new novel, Capital, set on Pepys Road, a fictionalised version of the Telegraph Hill street, during the unfolding financial crisis of 2007/08:

"Having a house in Pepys Road was like being in a casino in which you were guaranteed to be a winner."

The Independent says:

All London life is not – and can't be – here. Capital's preface alerts us to the flight of the old working- and lower-middle class from its neighbourhood. Matya notes that she and Zbigniew count as "servant-class". The Kamals and Petunia aside, the novel takes as its focus a fragile elite attended by recent migrants. Most of the middling sort have departed from this imaginary Pepys Road. Perhaps you might find more of them left in south London's actual Pepys Road, just a little to the east on Telegraph Hill. 

The cast of characters seems to be drawn from a crude set of stereotypes, reminiscent of one of Brockley Central's less-enlightening debates. As well as a "Banksy-style" conceptualist, the Standard says:

Capital's large cast feel familiar. There's Roger Yount, a banker for "whom everything in life had come easily", a Polish builder called Zbigniew who is said to toil "twice as hard as a British worker" and Smitty, a Banksy-esque artist. Representing the "squeezed middle" are the Kamals, the family who run the corner shop. Twice, too, Lanchester goes over well-explored ground: the Kamals become embroiled in a terrorist plot while Roger waits for - and then is disappointed by - his bonus.

It also quotes an observation about our attitudes towards the internet that's about a decade too late ('the internet's amazing, but we just use it to look at porn'). In other words, there's enough material here to fuel discussions of "mungs", "honest fare", "gentrification", "yummy mummies" and "scroungers" for years to come.

The consensus among the reviews we read was that the quality of the writing helps it overcome these banalities and  makes it an entertaining plot-driven read. Click here for an extract.

Thanks to Monkeyboy and Howard for alerting us.