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Blast From The Past
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A blast of energy and zeitgeist from Britain's foremost comic talent.

About the Author

Ben Elton is one of Britain's most provocative and entertaining writers. From celebrity to climate change, from the First World War to the end of the world, his books give his unique perspective on some of the most controversial topics of our time. He has written twelve major bestsellers, including Stark, Popcorn, Inconceivable (filmed as Maybe Baby, which he also directed), Dead Famous, High Society (WH Smith People's Choice Award 2003) and The First Casualty. He has also written some of television's most popular and incisive comedy, including The Young Ones, Blackadder and The Man From Auntie. His stage work includes three West End plays and the hit musicals The Beautiful Game and We Will Rock You. He is married with three children.

Reviews

Elton appears to be a blast from the presentÄa British standup comic, TV writer, and playwright whose novel Popcorn is the basis for a forthcoming film. Here, peace protestor Polly and U.S. army captain Jack, stationed in England, have a flaming affair until duty calls. Years later, Jack returns to England looking for his lost love. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

British stand-up comic, playwright and author Elton (Popcorn) brings a new, if unconvincing, twist to the term "sexual politics" in his fifth off-the-wall novel. Polly Slade is a stereotypical leftist activist, but, … la Bridget Jones, she's also sadly single. When Polly was 17, she had a brief and improbable sub rosa love affair with American Captain Jack Kent, who was stationed at the airbase in Greenham, England where, in the '80s, there was a year-long demonstration against American militarism. Polly, radical protester-for-peace in the bloom of her punkish pulchritude, is shortly abandoned by the ambitious Jack, whose pursuit of army life cannot be derailed. Now 16 years have passed and Jack has risen in the U.S. ranks, in line to become the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Polly's career hasn't been so steady, as she passed through anarchist, feminist and labor support groups. She's dated both politically correct and lying married men. But now she's got a stalker, Peter (whom she nicknames "The Bug"), a former client at the Office of Equal Opportunity where she works. When Jack comes to London and looks up Polly, whom he's never stopped loving, his quest coincides with Peter's escalating harassment. The collision of Polly's loneliness and nostalgia, Jack's egomaniacal personality and "The Bug's" psychosis, which Elton sets up deftly enough, doesn't quite gel. Kent, part Manchurian candidate, part Rambo and overall a blatant symbol of U.S. political corruption, doesn't make a credible figure, especially when his enduring passion for Polly turns deadly. Elton's condescending asides about Polly's ultra-leftie politics render his heroine ridiculous. While the combination of U.S. and British politics, thematically linked with sexual obsession and blood-thirsty ambition, is a promising melange, these characters haven't the mettle to engage most readers in their violent and melodramatic love games. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

If you can wade through the mediocre beginning of Ben Elton's latest novel, you will find it impossible to put down. Polly, once a teenage radical, has washed up as a council worker, living in a dumpy flat all alone, and plagued by an obsessive stalker. Her lifetime of misery began 16 years ago when her one true love left in the dead of night. At two o'clock one morning, Polly's phone rings, and Jack Kent re-enters her life. Jack is a general in the US Army, who, as a mere captain 16 years earlier, fell deeply in love with Polly, then a hippie from Greenham Common, and never recovered. Polly and Jack argue their way through ideology and heartbreak, and try to fight off their mutual attraction. Jack hasn't changed; 16 years ago, the army came first and he wouldn't jeopardise his career by loving Polly. Now, one notch away from the top job, Jack still won't let anything block his passage to power - not even the girl he loves. The book's main redeeming feature is the element of suspense, which centres around the stalker lying in wait. In expectation of Elton's usual humour, this book is disappointing. Apart from the odd satirical line, it is not that funny. The plot is fairly insubstantial and set entirely around Polly's flat (except for the flashbacks). The ending is a bit twee and Elton's clumsily dropped clues as to what happens next spoil the surprise. However, despite its many shortcomings, if you're after a surefire page turner filled with mounting tension, sexual excitement and danger, this is it. Joanne Shiells is a bookseller at Dymocks Brighton (Vic). C. 1998 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

"Only Ben Elton could combine uncomfortable questions about gender politics with a gripping, page-turning narrative and jokes that make you laugh out loud" -- Tony Parsons, author of Man and Boy
"Elton at his most outrageously entertaining" * Cosmopolitan *
"The action is tight and well-plotted, the dialogue is punchy, and the whole thing rolls along so nicely" * Guardian *
"A lively thriller of sexual politics and morality. Elton's best book yet" * Elle *

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