Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Shop Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Paperwhite Shop now Shop Now Shop now

Customer Reviews

98
3.4 out of 5 stars
Meltdown
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£6.74+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 16 March 2014
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. There are holes in, not the plot itself, but certain scenes where the characters do and say things that reduce the books believability. A lot of the views that the book tries to get across appear to be overly cynical and the ending is perhaps a little bit contrived. And I did find myself wondering around half way through the book whether the description of 'The Banana,' a fictitious building in London which I can only assume is there to satirise The Shard, was put in so that Ben Elton could force in yet another nob gag (it doesn't happen too often in the book, but it is something which I've seen come up far too often in his recent work.)

The book is what it is - an idea. An idea of how the credit crunch affected those at the top. An idea of how they might have dealt with it. An idea of just how far people are willing to go in order to hang on to what they have left. And if this is an idea you're willing to explore, then I would recommend this book to you. But don't take it too seriously, or as stone cold fact. Because while parts of the story are certainly true for somebody, I doubt this is the way it all actually happened. Just enjoy it instead.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 23 October 2011
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 12 November 2011
Some of the 1 - 2 stars are unnecessarily harsh IMO.
It's typical Elton of late but that is not a bad thing.
It is punchy and very readable, albeit very clichéd, BUT, again, that is a good thing.
A brilliant satire and Elton has a real skill of stripping down every aspect of life and inserting genuine comic touches.
Intelligent and thought provoking it isn't, but fun and enjoyable it is.
I like the descriptions of the absurdities and extravagance of the wealthy and the distorted mindset it can bring upon people. i.e., a multi millionaire designer, obsessed with creating nice packages for gifts, it's not what's in the box that counts, but the box itself! Well observed and so very true. I for one remember a silly piece of regional news about a woman with a boutique `wrapping' shop in West London making a fortune, as she had developed a `scientific' way to wrap gifts!!!! There is a real send up of this kind of thinking in Meltdown.
It also takes a good look at how hard the protagonists life becomes once he has to cut back on all the ridiculous extravagances he was once afforded.
Funny, pacey, enjoyable fun you will breeze through in days.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2012
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2010
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 13 January 2013
I love Ben Elton's books and yes I did quite enjoy this one too. But, dare I say, I found parts of this a bit preachy by which I mean that each character is just too obviously there to state a certain opinion throughout the book. Jimmy's father who is the traditional old-school bank manager is a good example of this as whenever he opens his mouth he's basically saying all the sensible stuff about responsible money management, whereas conscience-free Rupert challenges and outrages consistently with his over-the-top right wing ranting. I found I was almost thinking of the characters as roles/devices rather than people.

Having said that, I read it to the end and giggled in places at the crazy descriptions of the chaotic homelife after the nanny has departed. Some very sharp humour as always, but not a particularly clever plot, a bit predictable, and not my favourite of Ben Elton's books.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2011
I will hold my hands up and say that this is the first Ben Elton Novel that I have read, so I have no basis for comparison, but i thought it was poor. This novel struck me as nothing more than Eltons mind poured out on paper with a loose story stuck on it. The endless meetings and dialogues between the characters left my mind wandering as to which character was which as they are not well characterised and have interchangeable personas. The ending, as so many reviewers have stated, felt like a quick and hastily written wrap up to cap off a weak offering. In all honesty it struck me as a book that the average amateur writer could have bashed out in a few months.

In my opinion I dont think Elton can shake off ( nor do I think he wants to ) the "Trendy Lefty Thatcher basher" That I remember him being throughout the 80's. Perhaps his other novels are something to behold, I cant really say that I'm interested enough to find out though.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2010
Ben Elton uses the credit crunch as a backdrop for a book about "greed." The dialogue is sharp and funny, and the book follows a group of ultra-successful University friends through the late 90s up to present day. Anyone hoping for a thriller that represents an in-depth examination into the mechanics behind the financial meltdown would be better reading The Credit Crunch Conspiracy. This book is an interesting, amusing character piece, and is exactly what you would expect from Ben Elton covering a subject of this type.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 31 July 2012
This is the first Ben Elton book I've read and I absolutely loved it. It took a while to get into it as I thought it was written in quite an unusaul style - small chapters which jumps from pre recession and during recession and changes character. In some ways it was kind of predictable for anyone who's watched the news or read the newspapers in the last few years because you soon released which character is portrayed as a stereotypical 'victim' (for want of a better word!) of the recession. But it did give me an interesting incept into how the bankers and traders reacted to the recession and how they were the ones who were the last to see it coming. Almost made me feel sorry for them. But on the whole a brilliant and entertaining read.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Meltdown is another highly topical commentary from Ben Elton on modern society with the focus this time on the effects of the global financial crisis on the UK, encompassing individual and institutional greed that had become so passé up to the inevitable downturn. The world of finance had long since forgotten its own health warning of what goes up must come down and was instead able to breed a world of individual greed that saw no contentment in just making a million; it was how you used that million to make multi-millions that marked your place in the world. The central character Jimmy Corby is an Investment Banker who epitomised this greed as he hedged the value of his own home against buying more property to cash-in. The story here is told through Jimmy's situation and how it touches the lives of his old group of friends from university (`The Radishes') - here we have the most arrogant banker ever (Rupert) who runs one of Britain's top banks and payrolls all his honours through the government. The government is represented by Henry, a talented up-and-coming MP who truly hates Rupert but also ends up getting caught as the expenses scandal breaks. Robbo is married to a successful entrepreneur (Lizzie) and appears to have a laidback attitude about life as long as he can get a good pint of real ale, but even he was looking to cash in. Sanity in a mad world is mainly provided by Jimmy's wife Monica and his dad, Derek. Monica is an old hippy at heart and brings Jimmy back to reality during the bad times and is the rock that sees him through - Jimmy becomes quite likeable by the end and you realise the Monica is really the book's hero(ine). Derek represents the values of old fashioned banking and could have been smug in the extreme, but he is not and this again reinforces the message about how crazy this modern greed really was.

Meltdown is written almost like a play or one of those popular ITV drama serials like `Cold Feet' that covers the lives if several couples. There is a good use of contrast through flashback in showing the good and bad times. I also love some of the sub plot rants, like the old maths versus new maths as Jimmy moves his son from a private to a state school. It did take me a few chapters to get into the flow of the book but once I did it hit the mark.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Time and Time Again
Time and Time Again by Ben Elton (Paperback - 30 July 2015)
£3.85

Two Brothers
Two Brothers by Ben Elton (Paperback - 15 Aug. 2013)
£5.59

Blind Faith
Blind Faith by Ben Elton (Paperback - 16 May 2008)
£7.99
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.