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Meltdown

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,951 Ratings  ·  161 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
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Paperback, 480 pages
Published July 8th 2010 by Black Swan (first published 2008)
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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.

A
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Sally
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-fiction
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
Lauren Cooke
Mar 13, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Hinch
Feb 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jillwilson
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
Jason Mills
Jul 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Stella
Aug 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
A thorough meh.
Mandy
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Steve Horsfall
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Balthazar Lawson
When you learn to cook a new dish you will usually follow the receipe very closly. The more confident one gets the more one will begin to expiriment with the ingredients, add a bit more of this, cutting out that and substituting one ingredient for another. However, after a while what you end up with is far from the original receipe.

That's what this book was like to me.

I've read a few books by Ben Elton and this one, although it seems to follow the receipe, misses the mark. There seems to be too
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Mikaela
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
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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
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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
Stephen
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Tom Conrad
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Judy
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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Jonathan
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
feimineach
Jul 13, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Brief review for now: unfortunately Meltdown is another lack-lustre and disappointing effort from Elton. His ideas are nearly always interesting but his execution is too often weak and superficial. A better writer could do so much more with the material and really develop a biting satire. Elton's efforts are, alas, tired and bored.
David
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started off promisingly and has a pretty decent plot and characters. I felt however that the way it unravels was pretty unsatisfactory, and that Elton could have told his story better (or at least better to my liking).

All things said, it did give me an insight into what could have caused the financial crisis.
Carla
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
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.
Julie
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Work lunchtime book - very easy to read in small chunks. Based in time when Fred Goodwin destroyed RBS. A bit unbelievable. Pals from uni and partners and what happens to them all after crash. Not Ben Elton's best.
Seraphiel
Sep 09, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sorry to say that I hated this. It was an agony to finish the book (I'm loyal to my favourite authors and I really didn't want to cast it aside without finishing), but it never picked up or climaxed into anything worthy. A waste of my time, frankly. Ben can do much better.
BMK
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Man, I used to love Ben Elton books. Not so much this one...
Far too much banging on about kids and parenting.
Kazimiera pendrey
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
quite a good read that i did enjoy reading howeverthe ending was just too implausable even for fiction
Ange
Aug 31, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
couldnt finish it
Pauline Libeert
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastisch.
Dariosk
uninspired writing
3min45secs
This is the first Ben Elton book which I have read. I had always heard good things about his books and I have watched a number of television programmes which have come from Ben Elton, Mr Bean, Blackadder and a number of Comic Relief events. So when I saw an audiobook by Ben Elton I thought I would give it a try.

The story is about five friends who attended university together, they all joined "The Radish Club" after their graduation through a ridiculous ceremony of inserting radishes into...an un
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Geoff Battle
Elton's tale of the rich and the disastrous effects of the recession upon them is entertaining enough. Oddly for an Elton novel the hook is not from any humour value, which is in short supply here, yet rather from the interesting curve of character arcs. The story follows six university friends as they stay in touch as their careers sky-rocket in the city. When the recession hits they are affected in different ways, with the central character offering a likeable story of riches to rags. Elton ta ...more
Andy Regan
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even if the plot isn't gripping in all his novels, Ben Elton seldom fails to express interesting perspectives. Meltdown tells the tale in the UK of the late noughties financial crash and the seeming inevitability of the economy having to face up to a day of reckoning through overborrowing.

The story revolves around a group of university friends becoming city traders, bankers, entrepreneurs, politicians and architects all of whom have a personal stake in wilfully ignoring the frail basis on which
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No! Jimmy protested is now the most famous line in that book 2 29 Sep 16, 2013 03:09PM  
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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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“No!" Jimmy protested.” 40 likes
“You think I look like a teletubby?” 15 likes
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