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3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  1,277 ratings  ·  118 reviews
For amiable City trader Jimmy Corby money was the new Rock n' Roll. His whole life was a party, adrenalin charged and cocaine fuelled. If he hadn't met Monica he would probably have ended up either dead or in rehab.

But Jimmy was as lucky in love as he was at betting on dodgy derivatives, so instead of burning out, his star just burned brighter than ever. Rich, pampered and...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published November 5th 2009 by Bantam Press (first published 2008)
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The First Casualty by Ben EltonDead Famous by Ben EltonHigh Society by Ben EltonMeltdown by Ben EltonGridlock by Ben Elton
Best Ben Elton Book
4th out of 14 books — 7 voters
Atonement by Ian McEwanThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonNever Let Me Go by Kazuo IshiguroOne Day by David NichollsThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Modern British Novels I've Enjoyed
215th out of 432 books — 372 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,302)
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Anthony Eaton
I've got something of a mixed relationship with Ben Elton's books. Some of them I've absolutely loved - right back to 'Stark', the first book of his I ever read and a brilliantly biting comedy. 'Dead Famous' is one of the finest examples of crime fiction I've ever read, as well as being a wonderful commentary on pop culture. Some of his books, though, I've found a little pedestrian - sort of by-the-numbers kind of writing. Nothing intrinsically bad about them, but nothing too brilliant, either.

Mikael Kuoppala
Ben Elton is a witty, linguistically talented satirist with an impressive track record of sharp, topical and funny novels. With “Meltdown” he tackles the financial crisis of 2008 and uses the subject to examine one of the most extreme political chameleons in recent Western history: the Labour Party.

For decades, Labour represented progressive, moderate left-wing policies that aimed for equality in domestic affairs and the dismantling of imperialist foreign policies. The party never looked more pr...more
OK, so I’ve now read four books about the Global Financial Crisis. That has to be some sort of record. I’m not even the (direct) owner of any shares but I do know how greedy cowboys manipulated the sub-prime mortgage market in the States with a direct impact on my own little bit of superannuation here in Australia. Two of the books have been non-fiction – the fabulous Mr Michael Lewis with his penetrating analysis of gambling and excess in The Big Short and Boomerang, and John Lancaster’s novel...more
Let’s start by establishing parameters. A very wise satirist once said these words: “Are you going put all the politics in, Ben? Are you gonna stick all that principle, all those concerns, are you going to shove all of that into the act?” “Well I’m not gonna bother, the politicians don’t anymore why should I? It’s all style and no content these days, isn’t it?” Well, this book is all style and full of content; that I can promise you.

The King of Satire is back and this time his target is the glob...more
Lauren Cooke
Possibly the worst book I have read in the past few years. Not only is the story direly predictable, but the characters are one dimensional idiots.

Had Ben Elton decided to take the credit crunch setting as a basis on which to build amusing yet fascinating characters, then the uninventive copying of real life events would have been understandable. However, the characters were not only unlikeable fools throughout (even the characters we were clearly meant to be rooting for were downright facetiou...more
Jason Mills
Jul 26, 2010 Jason Mills rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Elton buffs, credit-crunch victims, those seeking A Good Read.
Elton's novels are addictive reads, made of plain, easy-going, forward-moving prose. They're frequently funny, hard to put down and unerringly topical. Meltdown focuses on the credit crunch and its fallout. We follow the fortunes (literally) of a group of friends, from their bonding at university, through their glittering careers, and on into the crash landings they face when the bottom falls out of the British economy.

Our main protagonist is Jimmy, a hapless city trader who gets rich during the...more
Ben Elton is a really clever and funny author (script writer). He often sees the absurd in both sides of any argument. I enjoyed his treatises on the failings of capitalism, the banking sector and New Labour. He has some amusing and interesting insights. His insights are of the type in which you sit back, nod your head, and think to yourself yes I knew that! that's kind of how I would express myself (if I'd ever taken the time to formulate a clear argument and had written it down). So he's not o...more
Steve Horsfall
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 mi...more
Tom Conrad
Money, snobbery, insider trading and corrupt/vain politicians, and all deftly explored through the relationships of ten friends aka The Radish Club.

Any good?

Well, for my money, not the best of Ben Elton (read High Society or Blind Faith first), but a humorous enough tale which explores the City of London's financial "meltdown", and in an engaging way (if you're not au fait with what's been going on with it all, this is certainly a great and fun read to shed some light).

My major criticism of Melt...more
This book was interesting. Not my usual type of read, I'm more of a lighthearted read kinda gal, but I acutally really enjoyed it. If it weren't for the fact that I live in Australia and had no idea about any of the British Political references, I would have actually really loved this book. It was set up in a logical, intelligent way, and the characters were all so amazing and believable.

Good job Ben Elton. I salute you for pulling me away from Chic-Lit and not dissappointing me!

"No! Jimmy Pro...more
An easy but forgettable read from Ben Elton. The plot was bland, the characters lightweight stereotypes, and the hastily delivered ending swam in sentimentalism. There were moments of humor, and brief glimpses of social insight; there were even passages, particularly those describing the life of an overwhelmed and under financed parent, that felt authentic, even moving. These splashes of color, however, were insufficient saviors, for this whimsical throwaway read.
Meltdown is about the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, and how it affects a group of friends. I really like Ben Elton's style of writing. He's managed to present the potentially depressing subject matter in a very humorous way, which I enjoyed thoroughly. The main characters develop well, and they became much more likable and relatable as the story progressed.
Kazimiera pendrey
quite a good read that i did enjoy reading howeverthe ending was just too implausable even for fiction
I found the main character in this story absolutely annoying. Just another pretentious suit driven by greed to encapsulate himself with every worldly bit of materialism he can get his hands on. The group he runs with is no better. Although later on in the story there seems to be a shift back to what's really important in life, it's unfortunate that it takes an economic tsunami to get everyone to look inward rather than outward. But by then it's too late to have empathy for any of the characters....more
Read this as soon as it hit the shelves. What a great way to find the fun in what was happening around us. Sometimes you just need to see the humour in the merde.

At the time I was employed at the no1 tier1 accounting firm and was gob smacked at how so few with an education in economics couldn't see the inevitable through their blind arrogance.

This book summed up what I saw around me at the time and I got to have a laugh about it. Like picture theatres in the recession, this was the book for th...more
Firstly this isn't a terrible book and it does mirror the financial collapse which is still affecting day to day living years after the rot started,as a document of the times it is of interest but it's biggest problem is within it's characterisation.
The figures within the book offer little to sympathise with,they are representative of the financial whizz kids and yuppies much despised at this time being complicit in the disaster we have seen,I think Elton sets out to humanise these figures to of...more
Futures trader Jimmy Corby is hit hard by Britain's recession, and struggles to find a way to keep his family's heads above water. Among his closest friends are an expense-fiddling MP and a crooked banker, allowing Elton to take jabs at everything from cash for honours, MPs expenses, banking fatcats and bonuses, to Live8 and laissez-faire society.

Elton tends to be a very hit and miss writer. Meltdown isn't up there with his best (Dead Famous) but nor is it one of his worst (Maybe Baby). It's lar...more
Lisa Walker
UK comedian and author Ben Elton has a knack of capturing the zeitgeist. Over recent years we have had Dead Famous, a spoof of Big Brother, Chartthrob, which satirises shows like Australian Idol and Blind Faith, which shows what can ensue when internet chat goes too far. Meltdown is his timely take on the global financial crisis.
Meltdown follows the rise and fall of amiable London futures trader, Jimmy and his chums. The boom years give Jimmy the usual trappings of success - a lovely wife and...more
I enjoyed this book, as I usually do with Elton’s books, but this is not his best one. It dragged a little in the middle, and I thought there were too many irrelevant political (and other) issues that I felt the author wanted to add to the story because of his own interest.

The story jumped back and forth between the good times and the current times and also flash-backed to the past, when the friends were just starting their careers. I very much enjoyed the current time, in which Jimmy and Monica...more
I ended up liking this book but overall it was a mixed bag. It took a long while to get going. The story jumped from past to present frequently, to set up the scene and characterize the main players. I disliked the long 'discussions' about politics, probably because it's not a subject that excites me greatly. Also, not being from Britain, a lot of the specifics of the different political parties is out of my skope (though even here in NZ we heard about the politician who was charging the cleanin...more
I have read all Ben Elton's book and there has never been a duff one. This one doesn't quite reach the heights of Blind Faith or Chart Throb but still a very enjoyable and easy read.
Having taken a critical look at x factor, relgion, big brother, green issues etc in previous books its the banks and MPs who attract the brunt of Elton's anger in this one. It is the story of a group of friends and how they cope with the downturn and credit crunch of 2008. It particularly focuses on Jim and his wife...more
I have noticed people are being quite hard on Ben Elton lately - not sure why? I have loved every single one of his books, they are all different, all interesting, mostly dealing with significant social issues and Meltdown is no exception. I thought it was a great book - it made me think whilst entertaining me immensely at the same time. Ben Elton creates very real characters, people you know, people you can relate to (well usually - This Other Eden, Popcorn and Stark aside). Plus he writes in a...more
Emma Webb

I am a HUGE fan of Ben Elton's writing, but this is probably one of my favorites.

It follows the highs and lows of a man (and his family) hit by the recession in England. As usual with Elton's books, it is chock-full of humour from start to finish, and this is especially apparent given the nature of the book.

I especially enjoy the way Elton can take a contemporary issue, particularly one so p...more
Jason Willson
Always topical and up to date, Ben Elton really knows how to interweave today's issues into his writing.

The financial boom and bust crisis, cash for honours, MP's expenses and even state versus private education are all neatly integrated into this story.

Jimmy, a good natured and happy go lucky fella, stumbles via a friend Into a career as a trader just at the right time making loads of dosh.

His mates all do well in Blairs Britain in the nineties as architects, MP's, bankers and really ride the...more
You know that hashtag #TooSoon?

I read this in a review online & I'm forced to agree.
This book happened too soon after the recession started. And considering how it became a double, triple dip with few changes to some people & life changing ones to others; Elton tried TOO HARD to capture the zeitgeist.

Maybe future generations will enjoy it. Now, too much too soon.
Ian Mchugh
This is/was the first Ben Elton book I've ever read. I've previously avoided them as his smug face related to lots of banal tosh like "We Will Rock You", the Queen musical, left me with the belief that his books would be smug too.

This book was therefore a pleasant surprise. A mid-80s political rant - of which Elton was famous in his stand-up comedy days - it is not BUT it does have it's moments...

The story is incredibly contrived to cover the whole of the 90s, "New Labour" period and the subsequ...more
David Bell
As usual, very readable. Ben Elton's writing style is like his stand-up used to be= fast, furious and hard to ignore. An easily digested story that'll help you understand why the financial world went bonkers and than brought the rest of us down. y favourite bits are when the main character realises that his kid will have to go to State school. Fun, light, very interesting an very hard to put down.
Not Bens best work. I like the way Elton tries to make his baddie characters not completely two dimensional but he doesn't always succeed. I listened to the audio version and I felt the reader did a poor job, the voicing of the characters was excellent but the bizarre and unusual emphases jammed into perfectly ordinary sentences became extremely off putting. Advice to voice artists: if in doubt do it straight, don't get in the way between the author and the audience.
Tom Loock
Though admittedly an important topic, I came out of Meltdown somewhat disappointed. I'd learned a lot (assuming Ben Elton knows what he is writing about), but I would have wanted it to be funnier and I would have wanted more sympathetic characters. If this sounds cliché, so be it.
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Ben Elton was born on 3 May 1959, in Catford, South London. The youngest of four, he went to Godalming Grammar school, joined amateur dramatic societies and wrote his first play at 15. He wanted to be a stagehand at the local theatre, but instead did A-Level Theatre Studies and studied drama at Manchester University in 1977.

His career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memo...more
More about Ben Elton...
Dead Famous High Society Stark Popcorn Blind Faith

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“No!" Jimmy protested.” 34 likes
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