A green and pleasant land
With the Olympics in full swing, here are three new or upcoming books with penetrating looks at contemporary Britain.
Capital (W.W. Norton) by John Lanchester is a gripping, epic novel set in London during the 2008 financial crisis, with a cast that ranges from a banker and his shopaholic wife to a refugee working as a meter maid.
Lionel Asbo: State of England (Alfred A. Knopf) by Martin Amis is an exuberant satire of celebrity culture focusing on the adventures of its title character, a thug who wins a million-pound lottery, and his confused young nephew.
A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys Through Urban Britain (Verso) by Owen Hatherley is a "radical travelogue" by a culture and architecture critic that assesses the dire effects of more than a decade of drastic public-sector cuts on the British architectural environment.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor