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The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 Audiobook

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047

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Publisher's Summary

The brilliant new novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin centres on three generations of the Mandible family as a fiscal crisis hits a near-future America.

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.

©2016 Lionel Shriver (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What the Critics Say

Praise for Lionel Shriver: "Shriver proves she is not afraid of anything...." (Observer)
"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (135 )
5 star
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4.2 (126 )
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4.3 (128 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Linda London, United Kingdom 07/06/2016
    Linda London, United Kingdom 07/06/2016 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    365
    ratings
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    134
    128
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    "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
  •  
    wolfgoesshopping 28/06/2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    7
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    "Disappointed"
    What was most disappointing about Lionel Shriver’s story?

    It is frustrating when a dystopian novel uses the present day as the past, and then skips forward 15 years to a new future but with no bridge of events on the way. The book is murky and confused.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol 18/05/2017
    Carol 18/05/2017 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
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    Story
    "keep going"

    Midas it very keen after the first chapter but my son in law had recommended it so I pressed on. I am so glad I did as it was not only an excellent story it gave me a lot of food for thought about how our actions to day have 'repercussions down time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edwin 24/04/2017
    Edwin 24/04/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "The Mandibles"

    Lionel Shriver is an odd woman with an odd name who writes odd books. This one she appears to have lifted almost verbatim from "When money dies" about which she has woven a thin storey about people I have little interest in or sympathy with. That said I found the book, (like her other strangely unsympathetic story, We need to talk about Kevin) strangely compelling. So if you fancy a tale about economic Armageddon which may or may not be about to unfold in RL then this is the one for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H Newsam 03/03/2017
    H Newsam 03/03/2017 Member Since 2013
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    "Set in the 2030s and 2040s a cautionary tale of where the USA might be heading"

    A very thought provoking book. It follows an extended family through a crisis hit USA as it struggles to come to terms with no longer being #1 in the world. It shows what happens to human nature where what is taken for granted is taken away. All that is in this book could happen... the question is "Which path is America on?"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Co Dublin, Ireland 13/01/2017
    Suzanne Co Dublin, Ireland 13/01/2017 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    "A Lionel Shriver classic"

    I found this book a hard read - by the fact of the topic. However, knowing Lionel's previous books, I kept reading. Another amazing book that asks us extremely deep questions on the meaning of life and how we live. Glad i read it to the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gabe Fleming (Audible staff) London, UK 27/09/2016
    Gabe Fleming (Audible staff) London, UK 27/09/2016 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Epic economic meltdowns of the near future"

    If, like me, you came to this book because you're a huge fan of We Need to Talk About Kevin, expect your expectations to be confounded. But while the subject matter is completely different, the brilliant observation and spine-tingling narrative tension mean you will not be disappointed. As you would expect from Lionel Shriver, the characters are richly drawn and the slow-building suspense is compelling, but what I really love about this book is the way it takes real issues of the modern world - inherited riches, family politics and economic meltdown - and tweaks them to convincingly terrifying visions of the near future. Our present day is the book's immediate past, marked by schools named after Barack Obama and Ed Balls' cameo as UK prime minister, among others. It's a brilliant listen, but also a warning.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. N. Reed 22/08/2016
    Dr. N. Reed 22/08/2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    5
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    "Interesting, but not what I'd expect from Shriver"

    I have loved Shriver's other books so much, the gripping original story telling and truthful painful insights, but I really thought this was a bit obvious. The story is ok, but I didn't really care that much about the characters or the outcome. Some of it was a bit unimaginative and cliché. Narration was good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mr morgan brickley 27/07/2016 Member Since 2016
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    20
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    "futurology"

    tax and death. clever realistic near future downfall of America. sad truths. some heavy monologues!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca B 01/07/2016
    Rebecca B 01/07/2016
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    25
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    "Tough and good in equal measure"

    this was tough going at times - lots of dry economic detail and discussion. glad I finished it though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Mark H. Sutherland
    16/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Shriver explains money. A creation of humans that reflects the essence of humanity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Batman
    The BatCave
    12/08/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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