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3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  1,508 ratings  ·  136 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
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 EltonBlind Faith by Ben EltonPopcorn by Ben EltonHigh Society by Ben Elton
Best Ben Elton Book
6th out of 15 books — 10 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
219th out of 451 books — 444 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,676)
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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.

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
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
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
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
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.
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
London 2008. Around that time I found, in Selfridges, a hair clasp I liked. It was made entirely of plastic, no embellishes, not even a fake jewel on it. It cost 84. I had to wonder what kind of person would buy that - and what about the really fancy jobs!

Meltdown is all about those people. It is marvellously entertaining, following the lives of a group of friends who shared a house while at university. Bankers, architects, entrepreneurs, New Labour politicians countered by an immigrant nanny, h
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
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.
James Perkins
The story concerns city trader Jimmy Corby, who acts like a completely immoral and irresponsible imbecile until the global financial crisis destroys his life and the lives of all his friends. It's a tale with a lot of potential for humour, satire, and all kinds of digs at the stupidity of the financial system, and the general ignorance and naivety of those who enthusiastically participate in it. Yet somehow, comedian Ben Elton manages to make it all quite boring. Although I've always liked Elton ...more
Quentin Feduchin
Not the easiest read ever. In the first 60% of the book, it flashes back pretty well after every chapter; that would be around a dozen times..
I found myself wishing for more denouement and less politics. On the other hand as a commentary on the GFC it was quite interesting and gave one some worthwhile scenarios of what happened to several types of people, especially if they had made a lot of money in some dishonest and/or risky ways.
Ben Elton always has something to say, something to teach you,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I am tempted to give this book a bad review due to the fact the plot line was all over the place, and the book is very very wordy (in my opinion AT LEAST a quarter of the book should have been edited out), but I still cannot deny, despite these annoyances, I really enjoyed the book. Another great witty, satirical, social commentary by Ben Elton, although probably not his overall best.
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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
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Dead Famous High Society Stark Popcorn Two Brothers

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“No!" Jimmy protested.” 37 likes
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