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Inconceivable [Hardcover]

Ben Elton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 1999
Sam and Lucy seem like the perfect couple. Successful, happy and in love. However, they might be infertile. Lucy wants a baby. Sam wants to write a movie. What they are about to go through is inconceivable, the question is, can their love survive?

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 329 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press; 1st edition (1 Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593044797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593044797
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,062,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ben Elton is one of Britain's most provocative and entertaining writers. From celebrity to climate change, from the First World War to the end of the world, his books give his unique perspective on some of the most controversial topics of our time.

He has written twelve major bestsellers, including Stark, Popcorn, Inconceivable (filmed as Maybe Baby, which he also directed), Dead Famous, High Society (WH Smith People's Choice Award 2003) and The First Casualty.

He has also written some of television's most popular and incisive comedy, including The Young Ones, Blackadder and The Man From Auntie. His stage work includes three West End plays and the hit musicals The Beautiful Game and We Will Rock You.

He is married with three children.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Whenever Sam thinks about babies, he envisages rivers of vomit and sleepless nights. But wife Lucy can't walk past Mothercare without crying. What's more, she can't seem to conceive--not by traditional methods, anyway. Hippy confidante Drusilla suggests an array of New Age remedies, including the intimate use of nutmeg oil and al fresco lovemaking. As Lucy faces a possible verdict of infertility, her love for Sam enters tailspin, accelerated by the advent of arrogant actor Carl Phipps. Meanwhile Sam, desperate to escape his tedious BBC job, conceives the inconceivable--turning the intimacies of their battle for babies into an acclaimed movie script.

Inconceivable tells a poignant and heart-rending story with Elton's trademark wit, creating a novel that is entertaining and emotionally satisfying; as explosive as Popcorn and with the incendiary humour of Blast From the Past. It courageously tackles its central theme from both the male and the female points of view, and while delivering laughs on every page, it steers clear of laddish clichés. Lucy's tale, though pregnant with unfulfilled emotion, never stints on humour. "There seem," she fumes, "to be more urban myths attached to infertility than there are to ... film stars filling their bottoms with small animals."

Aside from the rich vein of gags about DIY conception (Sam has to leave a power lunch with the excuse: "Sorry, my wife is ovulating ..."), Elton also subjects the TV industry to relentless stand-up-style bombardment, giving birth to some brilliant asides which enrich the main story but never overpower it. Funny, tragic, true and ultimately heartwarming, this book should be available on the National Health Service. --Matthew Baylis

Review

"Extremely clever, funny, well-written, sharp and unexpectedly moving...This brilliant, chaotic satire merits rereading several times." -- Nicholas Coleridge, " Mail on Sunday""This is Elton at his best -- mature, humane, and still a laugh a minute. At least." -- "Daily Telegraph""A very funny book about a sensitive subject...Ben Elton the writer might be even funnier than Ben Elton the comic." -- "Daily Mail""A tender, beautifully balanced romantic comedy." -- "Spectator""Moving and thoroughly entertaining." -- "Daily Express" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haven't laughed so much in a long time. 11 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I used to live in the UK and had heared Ben Elton on BBC, both TV and radio. I always wanted to read some of his books. So during my last visit to London I just grabbed it off the shelf in a bookshop without knowing anything about it, just that it was by Ben Elton. Over the Christmas season I had time to indulged. I read it in a very short time, it so gripped me. I laughed so much at times,I cried till my tummy hurt. The way he contrasts his and her feelings were just too real. I could identify, if not with the subject, but surely with the gender pictures he paints. Also his insight into 'the inner workings of the BBC, especially since 'outsourcing' has become common, is very well communicate. I learnd a lot about the subject of infertility and being entertained at the same time. The language of the story reminded me very much of my time in the UK and I can only recommend it if you need a good and hard laugh. As a result of reading this book I will buy some of his other books as well.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read! 8 Jan 2002
By Lisa
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the best books I have ever read simply because it made me laugh,cry and sent me on an emotional rollercoaster which most books simply cannot achieve. Certainly a book I'll be re-reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting idea 31 Mar 2006
By Mr. G. Battle VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ben Elton taps his personal career to produce a book centered around a couple working at the BBC. The entire book is formed from the couple's personal diaries, created to help then deal with the difficulty of getting pregnant. As per usual, the Elton brand of wit is sharp, rude and cutting edge, hitting on the taboo areas of our everyday lives most people don't feel comfortable talking about. It's interesting reading since Elton never hints at where he's leading you, or to about which subject he will open up like a can of worms next. The charactisation will make you ask questions of yourself as Elton is uncanny in his portrayal of human psychology and behaviour - it's very Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. So far, it's all good news. However, I did find that the actual flow of the book was somewhat impeded by the Diary Entry form of the book. Overall it's a good read; which is on-the-ball with cultural events and humour, but the format, although original, prevents real immersion and gets rather stale towards the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe Baby - Definitely Excellent 27 Aug 2005
By Mr. D. Clark VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Inconceivable" is probably familiar to many readers through the film version , "Maybe Baby". Well, I haven't actually seen the film, so I came fresh to the novel, and I'm very glad that I did. This is just possibly my favourite of all Elton's novels.
There's no mystery, no murders in this one. Its an unashamedly sentimental story of a relationship between a husband and wife who, for reasons they nor anybody else are able to understand, seem unable to have a baby.
Sam and Lucy Bell are both media types. Sam is a commissioning editor for the BBC, while Lucy works as an assistant to a theatrical agent. The interesting premise behind the book is that one of the many people they have consulted about their problem has told them to try to get in touch with their feelings about the situation more by writing in a book about their feelings every day, but not to show it to the other. So throughout the novel you have the two viewpoints of each event, one in normal type, the other in italic. It's a good narrative device, and Elton exploits it richly for its comic value, and also for genuine pathos.
It's a book about love, and especially about betrayal, which takes surprising forms in the narrative. I did worry, as the end approached, that Elton might cop out. I'm glad to say that he didn't, and it's a highly satisfying read. But be warned- although very funny ( in places I laughed out loud ) its also very serious, and moving. A box of tissues should be kept on standby when you read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best book I have read for ages 10 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I don't particularly care for Ben Elton as a comic and I would probably not have purchased any of his books. But when my son spent the first 2 days of his holiday engrossed in "Inconceivable", I decided to give it a go. What a revelation - I disturbed everyone round the poolside as I shreiked with laughter (the squirrel scene was a particular triumph) but this was balanced by Elton's real insights into the darker side of IVF. I would never have imagined that he could be so perceptive.
A great book - I am recommending it to all my friends.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and funny 31 Dec 2000
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I once tried to read a Ben Elton book and failed. I hated the fact that the characters just seemed to be vehicles for whichever political rant Elton chose to go off on at that point. In this book that ranting element is still there but toned down by a much needed sense of humanity and a real feeling for human frailty. I think part of the reason I enjoyed it was that the subject matter was very close to my heart and I know how real some of Lucy and Sam's feelings were. I thought Lucy's voice was very good and was impressed that the whole book didn't come across as blokey, although it was interesting to hear Sam's story too. There were also a few really funny moments, where I actually laughed out loud, much to my amazement.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars de ja vu 5 July 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of Ben Elton's book, but this one stands out because it doesn't have the same sense of delivering a 'message'. Yes, relationships should be based on trust and communication, but luckily this comes over in a much more subtle way than the eco-themes of Stark, This Other Eden and Gridlocked, even Blast From The Past had the authority vs anti-authority themes associated with Ben's early stand-up days. For Inconceivable Ben's definitely grown up, his characters are a lot more sympathetic, and if it wasn't for the fact that he's always seemed to be able to 'get inside' a woman's head I'd be asking his wife where she kept her diary! The only problem I had was that a lot of the little scenes in the book I already knew off by heart from when the guested in his stand-up show, it threw me off track slightly to be reminded that Ben Elton the author is also Ben Elton the stand-up comic. But overall I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a laugh, but isn't afraid to think a bit too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars touchy topic
people don't often talk about being infertile. Partly it embarrassing to say 'i am faulty' or bad manners to say 'the other person is faulty' but also a bit rude to talk about all... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mad Saint Uden
4.0 out of 5 stars 1999 Some years On.
I came to Ben Elton, as an author, quite late. I have read 'Popcorn', 'The First Casualty', 'Two Brothers' and have almost completed 'Inconceivable'. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Chris
2.0 out of 5 stars The years have not been kind
Time can be brutal to comic writing and this book seems to have suffered terribly.

It is amazing how dated this book seems; plodding, heavy-handed and predictable.
Published 6 months ago by monkey-puzzle
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent product
This is an excellent product with a quality service, and I would one hundred percent recommend this item to everyone.
Published 6 months ago by MR JOHN D MORRIS
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written with empathy and humour about a sensitive subject.
On first impressions (don't judge a book by its cover) I initially thought this would be quite a boring read; however I was wrong. Read more
Published 6 months ago by tracy
5.0 out of 5 stars Inconceivable
What a fantastic book this is! Although I have not gone through any of the trauma which was described in the story, I felt as though I had by the end! Read more
Published 7 months ago by P. J. Pearson
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
Laugh out loud funny and poignant too. Thoroughly enjoyed it
Recommend you give it a go. Money well spent. Fabulous
Published 9 months ago by MRS SUSAN READ
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as his other books
I normally really enjoy Ben Elton's books, but this one was just OK. As someone going through IVF treatment, I thought it was well researched and did find some aspects if amusing... Read more
Published 11 months ago by L. J. Afif
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull and Annoying!
I kept looking at the bar at the bottom of the kindle and sighing that there was so much still to go. Awful. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Emma
4.0 out of 5 stars What will he think of next?
Great read, could not put it down at times and embarrased myself in the plane laughing out loud! Story line from start to finish, with all the sub plots and stories is terrific -... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Viscacha
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