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Inconceivable Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jun 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (1 Jun. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552146986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552146982
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 heart warming, this book should be available on the National Health Service. --Matthew Baylis

Review

"Moving and thoroughly entertaining" (Daily Express)

"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)

"Extremely funny, clever, 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)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a brilliant book. I couldn't care less abouth the subject he deals with (infertility), and surrounding myself mostly with people under 30, neither can most of my friends. But it still manages to be funny. I generally do not laugh a lot, but I laughed out loud at several passages in this book. Ben Eltons straight-forward and obvious statements about everyday-life situations are incarnated funnyness. And he managed to make me care about wether or not two fictious characters get themselves a baby. I read it in two days. The reason it "only" gets four stars is because Ben Elton has done better in the past. The joke-density is much higher in his earlier work, and for a first-time Ben Elton-reader I would suggest "This Other Eden". But eventually everybody deserves to get around to reading this book. Enjoy!
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