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High Society
     

High Society

by Ben Elton
 

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The war on drugs has been lost, but afraid to face that fact, the whole world is rapidly becoming one vast criminal network. From the Groucho Club toilets to the poppy fields of Afghanistan, we are all partners in crime, and this story takes us through the landscape it has created.

Overview

The war on drugs has been lost, but afraid to face that fact, the whole world is rapidly becoming one vast criminal network. From the Groucho Club toilets to the poppy fields of Afghanistan, we are all partners in crime, and this story takes us through the landscape it has created.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In Elton's latest, a feckless Member of Parliament stumbles upon his moment in the media spotlight only to declare that the war on drugs is lost and to introduce legislation to legalize all drugs in Britain. The resulting spasms are felt through all levels of society-from certain royals to crazed, out-of-control rock star Tommy Hanson to a down-and-out addict and from London's Groucho Club loo (where some people actually go expecting to use the facility for its intended purpose) to the poppy fields of Afghanistan. Chameleon entertainer Elton (a stand-up comic, scriptwriter for the BBC series Blackadder, and novelist, his most recent title being Dead Famous) knows how to keep his cartoon characters moving quickly enough to entertain even the most jaded readers, and he manages to deliver a lesson or two about hypocrisy and the media along the way. This novel, which won Great Britain's WH Smith Fiction Prize (with readers casting their votes at the booksellers and online), should also find an audience on this side of the Atlantic. A good bet for larger public libraries.-Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A member of Parliament takes on the bugaboo of drug decriminalization. Well-known British comic author Elton has already taken on reality TV (Dead Famous, Feb. 2003), Tarantino-esque filmmakers (Popcorn, 1997), and the perils of pregnancy (Inconceivable, 2000). Now, he takes up the drug trade and attendant criminality, in pretty much all their aspects. His method is to weave together a number of different plotlines dependent upon a light web of coincidence and interrelations (something like the film Traffic), the most central of these involving a heretofore-overlooked Parliament member, Peter Paget, who proposes a sweeping decriminalization bill that's met at first with expected jeers and consternation but gradually gathers some real steam. If only Paget-the picture of two-kids-and-a-wife decency-wasn't shagging his comely assistant. Elsewhere, there's the crusading anticorruption police inspector, the Scottish girl sucked into addiction and prostitution on the streets of London, a drug mule in Bangkok, and, providing most of the needed comic relief, a running monologue given at various recovery meetings by a hugely successful Robbie Williams-esque pop star about his crimes and misadventures as he ingests truly heroic amounts of cocaine and alcohol. Paget provides Elton's thesis: the illegality of drugs mixed with the near-universal taking of drugs makes the entire county criminal: "We are all either criminals ourselves or associates of criminals or relatives of criminals." The first third or so here is rather inspired, mixing Elton's quick-witted banter with a high-minded yet concretely realistic assault on drug hysteria. Elton, however, like his pop star who whines about this fact, willnot be breaking the US market with his effort. No matter how cheeky the whole, the last half of the book, in which Paget et al. collapse in a welter of bad decision-making and the ravages of addiction, is not as successful in its pathos as the earlier pages were in their humor. A mixture of comedy with tragedy that fails to produce real black comedy: another decent but desperately uneven effort from Elton.
From the Publisher
“A fix of high comedy from a writer who provokes almost as much as he entertains.” — Daily Mail

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780593049396
Publisher:
Transworld Publishers Limited
Publication date:
09/01/2003
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.23(d)

Meet the Author

Ben Elton is a well-known British performer, playwright, TV writer and novelist. In addition to his stand-up work, he has written three hit plays: Gasping, Silly Cow and Popcorn; and seven novels: Stark, Gridlock, This Other Eden, Popcorn, Blast from the Past, Inconceivable and Dead Famous, all bestsellers.

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