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Meltdown Hardcover – 5 Nov 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (5 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593061926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593061923
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 399,223 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

Review

"An entertaining, well-written, often very funny read" (Daily Mirror [book of the week])

"Bang up to date...Very funny...Emotionally engaging" (Daily Mail)

Book Description

A biting satire of the credit crunch from this hugely popular and bestselling author

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Miles VINE VOICE on 19 May 2012
Format: Paperback
An attempt at the sort of 'politics intertwining with personal lives' novels that Jonathan Coe excels at, only rubbish.

Anyway, to summarize: 6 students share a house together, in the early 90s. Despite having absolutely nothing whatsoever in common, they are still best friends 20 years later, by which time by an amazing coincidence they've all become extremely successful in areas that make them especially vulnerable to the late noughties financial crisis. (This latter also being a bit hard to believe, as judging by the conversations they have with each other, none of 'em seem to have that much going on upstairs)

So, after Ben's introduced a few subsidiary characters who conveniently explain the financial crisis in terms a five year old could grasp, we have 500 pages of dull, one dimensional caricatures of what are already caricatured media 'types'(A yuppie trader, a tory banker, a Blairite MP, a postmodernist architect and a Nigela-Lawson stylee foodie guru) sitting around their Notting Hill gaffs having banal and tedious conversations which serve to only exposite Ben's banal and tedious insights into noughties culture: The problem here is that, one guesses, that Elton intention to satirise these sort of lifestyles,but seems to think that merely describing them qualifies as that. So the Nigella Lawson character 'has a range of sandwiches in Marks nd Spencer' From which I suppose we're supposed to deduce...what, exactly?

Terrible.
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Format: Paperback
This is the first book I've heard by Ben Elton and I found myself surprisingly engaged over the weekend it took for me to get to the end of it. The plot centres around Jimmy Corby, a stock trader who, at the height of his success, is hit very hard by the credit crunch of 2008 and loses almost all of his wealth. Along the way, we also see how it affects six of his closest friends as they rise up through a huge amount of success in the 90s, only to find themselves in trouble as the topical affairs of the late 00's catch up to them as well (usually involving the collapse of the economy, but there is also a reference to the MP's Expenses scandal.)

There's a lot going for the book here. I usually enjoy hearing a real-world tale of a time that I can remember and we're not so very far away from, and this was no exception. All of the characters are flawed to the point that they're not entirely likeable to begin with; overblown caricatures of the snobbish upper-class. But however little sympathy you have for them at the start, losing all of your money is never a pleasant experience - no matter how much or little of it you have, and it is interesting to get, if not an insight, then an idea of what it was like for the people who had everything to lose it all. For Jimmy in particular, it comes across as a kind of mid-life rite of passage, as he and his wife Monica take an active role in being a mother and father to their three children for the first time without their entourage of nannies and help. They are forced to consider what is important, and what they can manage without. And there are some light, more comical moments as well, which is quite nice since the plot is quite bleak.

However, it is not without its weakness.
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By Max Watt on 23 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm a huge fan of Ben Elton, I'm close to owning all of his books. His offerings of the last decade have been fantastic. "Dead Famous" is an unputdownable, hilarious novel. "The First Casualty" is gripping from start to finish without the humour, and with powerful messages. And "Blind Faith" is (in my opinion) his best. And that's just a few examples.

With "Meltdown" there aren't THAT many laughs. If you're expecting a comedy you may be disappointed. His best comedy can be found in "Dead Famous" and "This Other Eden" (again, IN MY OPINION). However, there's a great deal of satire which is entertaining. This is a very poignant drama that makes you empathize with its characters. The characters are familiar and likeable, and in some cases, extremely unlikable. Either way, you should have strong feelings towards all of them. That's good writing in my eyes! You can feel the friendship they share and empathize when tragedy strikes, and it strikes a lot.

As usual, it's written concisely, which really creates pace (it follows the same chapter style as Stark and Chart Throb), to the point where if real life weren't such a disturbance, you would read all day long.

Overall I'd reccommend it strongly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By IanW on 10 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read most of his books and, unfortunately, I think they are getting worse, badly written, predictable characters; this one was just phoned in and is just a vehicle to express his own political ideologies which seem slightly(!) watered down from the Ben in the Thatcher years. It's a shame because I loved Stark, Popcorn and Gridlock but I will think twice about trying another one. Sorry.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Davies on 26 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
Having read all of Ben Eltons back catologue, I am a fan of his work. Living and working in London, I was thrilled to see this book coming out. What a massive let down.

The characters are unsympathetic and boring. The story is slow paced and predictable. Anybody who's read a paper in the last two years will know what coming here, and to dwell on the misery and gloom of the credit crunch for 300 plus pages without any light relief is depressing.

Avoid avoid avoid.
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