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Meltdown Hardcover – 5 Nov 2009
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"An entertaining, well-written, often very funny read" (Daily Mirror [book of the week])
"Bang up to date...Very funny...Emotionally engaging" (Daily Mail)
A biting satire of the credit crunch from this hugely popular and bestselling authorSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
A lot of the books have a (basically sympathetic) central male character, he is likely to be very much an ordinary bloke with an ordinary bloke’s faults for which he tends to pay dearly. He will be hopelessly in love with a woman he regards as being utterly beautiful and she may or may not return his love. There will be a pretty good plot and everything will be tied up neatly in the end.
Elton is good at family life,knob jokes, baddies (usually rabid capitalists), smart one liners, love (requited or otherwise), disasters and worrying about drinking too much. His outlook is consistent old fashioned democratic socialist (hurrah!)
This is a Ben Elton book about the financial crash. If you’ve read one about global warming or reality T.V you'll know pretty much what you’re getting.
Having said all this I do seem to carry on buying them, often if I’m facing a long train journey or flight . Having bought one I’ll then read it in one sitting. The only problem with this is on two occasions I’ve bought one I’ve read before and then not realised ‘till I’ve read the first two chapters whereupon it all comes flooding back.
So the bottom line is Elton books may be considered to be a tiny bit samey, they are nevertheless entertaining, craftsmanlike and very easy to read even if you’re sitting behind the engines. Almost makes you think you could do as well yourself…………
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.
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.