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 global financial crisis. “Meltdown” is Ben Elton’s latest book and as he excels best, it is topical fiction to the max. The global financial crisis has touched us all in some way, some people affected more than others, and because of this everyone who reads this book will be able to relate. At the same time Mr Elton’s signature “knob gags” are thrown in. Now, don’t get too worried, by that term I mean his satirical humour and the token one-liners that Ben is famous for. One gem I loved was Jimmy on recycling:
“I hate recycling…it’s a week long reminder of how much we drink.”
The humour is littered throughout the novel but it is rightly placed, expanded on and does make those lips curl up at the sides. For a very serious issue Ben has managed to write a novel that gives a message, messages in fact, to its readers as well as providing comedic entertainment along the way.
The two Ts are prominent – trials and tribulations. We see the roller coaster journey of implications the global financial crisis (GC) has on partners, business, mates, families and self-conscience. The Radish Club (all will be revealed) has a one-way gold pass on this roller coaster we know as life; there are highs, there are lows but nobody could guess how the GC would rock their ride. Could the lows be predicted? Could the characters have avoided their plight down the highest slope of the roller coaster ending in the popcorn stand having to pay the pimply teenager whose mother still ironed his underpants? Could they have avoided the ticket? Do lovely, lovely things mean nix in the end? Has everything gotten too big?
Too big? The banks certainly don’t think so. The futures market doesn’t think so. The players don’t think so. Meltdown. Some people play with the hand they’re dealt – others bet too much. Meltdown. The words from someone who has seen the changes before, “Never use your house as collateral, son, it’s risking the seed corn,” go in one ear and out the other. Meltdown. Do yourself a favour and read this book, who knows, it may stop Meltdown banging at your door – at the very least you’ll get a right old laugh out of it.
Avoid the piss puddles, pay the ferryman and buy this book!
A big thank you goes out to Samantha Dawson of Random House Australia for providing me with a copy of “Meltdown” to review – thank you!
To read Meltdown’s blurb click here