Thursday, 26 November 2015

Capital - the book and the TV adaptation

I managed to finish reading Capital by John Lanchester the day after the TV series started, which was great because I could already compare things without it spoiling the ending of the book.

I loved the book. Very different, and the characters were great. That's where a book comes into its own. You have time to explore each character in depth. That was immediately obvious from the TV adaptation because you are straight in there. Still, fitting a 578 page novel into three hours of TV is impossible. There was so much I missed.

Before watching I had read an interview with chap who adapted the book for TV and he admitted that some of the stories had to be cut, but it looks as though most have been kept. However, another thing I noticed was the order of events. Things moved quickly and came not always in order. Stuff appeared in the fist episode that I didn't come to until much later in the book.

One of the scenes in the book that was so funny was when the character Roger was left on his own at Christmas with the two children. His wife had gone off to pay him back because she thought he had cushy life in the City while she was looking after the home. The fact that she had a nanny didn't come into it. She cancelled the nanny over Christmas and went off with a friend to a Spa (in the TV programme you never really know where she went). The scene with Roger and his young son who would not sit on the toilet (because he used a potty but Roger didn't know that) and the poo all over the place was laugh out loud funny. The climax being the arrival of the sofa as a Christmas present for his wife in the middle of this mayhem. It was covered pretty well in the TV series but again some element was a missing.

I wonder how one particular scene will be treated when they get to it. Can't say in case you only see the TV drama. But it involves one of the brother's from the corner shop. In the book I found this part compelling, haunting and it made me think about what happens behind closed doors.

This is why I won't normally watch something I've I read and vice versa. So much gets changed. I probably will watch the rest of the TV series now but I know I will be sitting there saying 'this wasn't in the book,' 'this didn't happen like this/at that time.' I'm doing it already and driving everyone up the wall! And one big thing - at the end of the first part of TV drama you see the letters written along the whole road in red paint WE WANT WHAT YOU HAVE. That is not from the book!

I am tempted to another book by this author. the humour in this was great, yet behind it all was more serious stuff. Definitely my kind of book.

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