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on 4 January 2018
With the conclusion to my reading of this book, I am closing-in on my ambition to read all of the novels by the best-selling author Ben Elton. With the finishing of each novel I look forward to the next one - albeit realizing that, one day, there will be no more to read (until his mind conceives another). However, that does not detract from the worthiness of spending time reading Meltdown, the 13th of Ben Elton's output of fifteenth novels to date, with reach presenting a new pleasure in reading.
The story of Meltdown focuses on the high life enjoyed by City trader Jimmy Corby. For the amiable Jimmy, money was the new "Rock n' Roll".Life was a one big party, living life at the edge and fuelling it with drink and drugs, albeit tempered by the presence of his capable wife Monica. What was the case for Jimmy was also the case for his friends. Their stars burned bright, they lived the dream.
Meltdown is a biting satire of the contemporary credit crunch from this hugely popular and bestselling author. After the bliss of financial boom, Jimmy and his family are forced to confront the extreme possibilities of bust. When it all came crashing down, Jimmy discovered that "anyone can handle success, it's how you handle failure that really matters". How Jimmy and his family survive is a scintillating story and a realistic encounter with a life that goes awry.
The effects of changing fortunes in the lives of these city people is skilfully told by Elton, and not without a touch of sympathy for the manner in which wealth can blind persons to what is most important in life. The varying fortunes of Jimmy friends can be a mirror for those who are over-dependent on wealth and what it can bring.
This is a novel for our times, a time in which economics poses a threat to all other considerations of life.
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on 10 November 2017
All of Ben Elton's books are witty and readable.
They do suffer from stock characters and very few plotline variations.
A case of read the right 3 and you've read them all (apart from the serious novels) just the dialogue varies!
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on 11 July 2017
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on 22 January 2010
Not hist best, but still has the little punches that Ben Elton pulls so well. Very topical and up-to-date in its basis for the story, but not as perhaps cynical as he could have been as ot the cause and on-going effects of the banking crisis. I would recommend Meltdown to Ben Elton fans, but then you're read it already haven't you! If you're not a fan then start with perhaps Popcorn, or one of the other earlier works.
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on 17 July 2016
Ben Elton books are so topical, so very much of the moment, that a year after publication they tend to have deserted Waterstones only to appear en masse in the second hand bookshops (where I bought this one)
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…………
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on 23 March 2013
Really boring! Have given up just over half way through after slogging away conscious that I have actually spent money on it! How did this get published? Honestly not worth the paper it is written on and not worth wasting any more time or words on either
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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.
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on 11 March 2012
I've read all Elton's previous books and found this one to be more of the same witty, sharp, clever writing. Was perhaps a little slow in the first half but makes up for it with a roller coaster second half. I perhaps expected Elton to rail against the excesses of the past few years in the financial sector but instead the book is a pleasing, believable story of people who did well for themselves and had it all come crashing down. The main characters were likable and you couldn't help but feel sorry for them by the end. Oh, and I laughed out loud! Lots!!
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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.
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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.
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