The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047
A Family, 2029–2047
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‘Shriver’s intelligence, mordant humour and vicious leaps of imagination all combine to make this a novel that is as unsettling as it is entertaining’ FINANCIAL TIMES
The brilliant new novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk about Kevin.
It is 2029.
The Mandibles have been counting on a sizable fortune filtering down when their 97-year-old patriarch dies. Yet America’s soaring national debt has grown so enormous that it can never be repaid. Under siege from an upstart international currency, the dollar is in meltdown. A bloodless world war will wipe out the savings of millions of American families.
Their inheritance turned to ash, each family member must contend with disappointment, but also — as the effects of the downturn start to hit — the challenge of sheer survival.
Recently affluent Avery is petulant that she can’t buy olive oil, while her sister Florence is forced to absorb strays into her increasingly cramped household. As their father Carter fumes at having to care for his demented stepmother now that a nursing home is too expensive, his sister Nollie, an expat author, returns from abroad at 73 to a country that’s unrecognizable.
Perhaps only Florence’s oddball teenage son Willing, an economics autodidact, can save this formerly august American family from the streets.
This is not science fiction. This is a frightening, fascinating, scabrously funny glimpse into the decline that may await the United States all too soon, from the pen of perhaps the most consistently perceptive and topical author of our times.
Praise for THE MANDIBLES: A Family, 2029–2047
‘As ever, Shriver cuts close to the bone! . . . Distinctly chilling’ Independent
‘A tale that fizzes with ideas and jokes . . . the comedy is pitch black’ The Times
‘Shriver is fast becoming the go-to novelist for some of the big issues . . . breezy, mordantly comic . . . if the test of a futuristic novel is its eerie proximity to the present, this passes with flying colours’ Daily Mail
‘Impressively sweeping… Shriver’s intelligence, mordant humour and vicious leaps of imagination all combine to make this a novel that is as unsettling as it is entertaining in its portrait of the cataclysmic unravelling of the American dream’ Financial Times
‘A frightening look at what fiscal crises can unfurl’ Grazia Culture Pick
‘The stuff of nightmares . . . Shriver cleverly balances tragedy with black comedy’ Sunday Express
‘It's scaring the hell out of me’ TRACY CHEVALIER
‘Shriver is as brilliant, funny and incisive as ever’ Woman and Home
‘A scary, depressing and convincing horror story, akin to reading about teetering on the edge of a precipice while actually teetering on the edge of a precipice’ Spectator
‘Insightful and darkly funny’ Good Housekeeping
‘Her verve and ambition are impressive . . . Few writers since William Gaddis in his brilliant JR have had the chutzpah to take on America’s particular money madness’ Mail on Sunday
About the author
Lionel Shriver’s novels include Big Brother, the New York Times bestseller The Post-Birthday World and the Orange Prize-winning international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin. Her journalism has appeared in the Guardian and the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and many other publications. She lives in London and Brooklyn.