I love it when you’re in an op shop and you come across a book you’ve not seen before by an author whose work you’ve always enjoyed. It’s less good when you read the book and cannot quite figure out what the point of it is.
Meltdown is Ben Elton’s take on the financial crisis, following a bunch of folks who met in college and went into various careers where they were able to make a whole heap of cash. Then, when things went wrong, their lives and friendships are tested.
I think the reason I didn’t like this book was that the characters are painted as such unlikable wankers that I had no sympathy for them when things go wrong. Plus, it was really repetitive, and I just wanted it to end. It’s annoying, because I recently read Two Brothers by Ben Elton, and that was wonderful, and he has written other absolute gems, and so when I find one that I don’t like, I’m deeply disappointed.
There are two boys growing up in Germany in the years before the Nazis come to power. What they don’t know is that one has been adopted into the family; one is Jewish and the other isn’t, and both are in love with a local beauty, the daughter of a rich Jewish man who owns a department store. As Hitler rises, they need to find ways to survive, with or without each other.
I really enjoyed this book – although I find that ‘enjoyed’ is always a problematic word when describing a book that covers these kinds of tough times. It’s odd, because I didn’t write this straight after reading as I usually do, but a few months later when I realised I hadn’t reviewed it. I had to do a quick look online to see if I could find the character names, and it seems that this book was not very well accepted by the critics. I’m surprised, as I thought it was great – at times tough. It was less funny that most Ben Elton stories, but that’s hardly surprising given the material.