Tuesday, June 19, 2012

First Encounters of the Signed Kinds: John Lanchester in New York City, June 18, 2012

John Lanchester presented and signed his new novel Capital (UK Faber and Faber, 2012; US WW Norton, 2012) last night at Barnes and Noble on the Upper East Side. Lanchester delivered some informative prepared remarks about the genesis of this rather large novel (the US edition is 527 pages), read a funny, engaging chapter, took a few questions and signed books. Lanchester, who grew up in Hong Kong and has published three previous novels, a memoir and some journalism, set out in this project to trace what he called the "London Dream." He became interested in the stories of those who are flocking from all over to try to make it in London and he noticed that in some neighborhoods the homes themselves, their rising property values and multiplying attendents, had become characters themselves.

Lanchester's novel is set in late 2000s financial crisis, war on terror-era London. Interestingly, he also published a brief non-fiction account of the financial crisis, I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay (Simon and Schuster, 2010) as he worked on the novel. Judging from the reading, the book sounds like a good read, like a literary page turner.

Above left, the first UK (and true first) edition. The American first is on the right. Below are two samples of Lanchester's Capital signature. Below is the signed UK first, acquired from a reputable British bookseller.

Finally, for comparison we have the US first edition, signed for me in person last night.

Finally, a close-up:


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