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 unrecognisable. 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.
"It's a wonder that subject matter on the surface so bleak can be transformed into something so uplifting." ( Daily Telegraph)
"You can rely on Lionel Shriver to upend your expectations." ( Daily Express)
"Required reading for all mortals." ( Daily Mail)
"...witty, observant and beautifully controlled." ( Literary Review)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Linda on 07-06-16
A dreary disappointment
I hate to give bad reviews - and hate to abandon a book, but halfway through chapter 2 I just can't face the thought of listening any more. The manner in which we are being introduced to the characters is so drearily done that no-one's name or position in the family clan properly registers - and nor do the descriptions of the changes in technology and way of life in this near future world. Perhaps everything gathers momentum as the story progresses but I just don't have the commitment to give it a go. For me it was a great idea wasted.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By jj Tinkler on 15-03-18
a bit of a dissappointment.
a rather hollow argument against a social welfare state, it reads a bit like Ayn Rand - where there is an idealogical point to be made about selfish individualism which means that there is no real critique of the state as a monopoly, on violence but as a poor redistributor of wealth. It is more of a prepper's fantasy than a well researched prediction of how the world might be as the near future unfolds. the readers poor pronounciation of any word beyond a 13 year old reading level grates and I have no idea why any author would allow an audio book reading to be published without better direction.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mark H. Sutherland on 16-04-17
Dystopian, Compelling, Entertaining.
What did you love best about The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047?
It was compelling and credible. Given that the backdrop to the story was economic, and that the characters experienced life in a way very different to our own, this was no mean feat.
What did you like best about this story?
Two things: The author mastered the material to extent that it was convincing and effortless. The authentic detail illustrating how our world could lead to the world of the Mandibles.
What does George Newbern bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
His narration was the "authentic voice" telling the story. Like the author, he didn't get in the way of the story.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
Shriver explains money. A creation of humans that reflects the essence of humanity.
By Batman on 12-08-16
What a great read!
Loved the story. Shriver has a gift for portraying economic climate through human interactions and his storytelling has a welcoming humour beneath the harshness of the situations.