Anthony Eaton's Reviews > Meltdown

Meltdown by Ben Elton
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Feb 15, 2010

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Read in February, 2010

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.

And I have to say that, for me at least, Meltdown started out in this latter category; as a fairly standard, amusing but not utterly gripping comic novel about the global financial crisis. (He and his publishers must have worked like demons to get this written and out on the market so quickly, which might just be some of the problem here.

The enjoyable thing, though, was that despite a somewhat unpromising start, the second half of this novel really hit its stride and pulled me happily in. I think this was largely because the first half of the book concerned itself very much with somewhat over-drawn and unsubtle commentary on the modern banking and trading industry. The ideology was driving the narrative, and not the characters. In the second half, though, once it got past this and became instead a novel about redemption, that was when it got me and kept me, right to the end.

Meltdown isn't Elton's finest work. But it's not his worst effort, either, and definitely worth a look.
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