Scary and only too believable

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 - Lionel Shriver

This book tells the tale of the economic collapse in the US in 2029. Cabbage is $20 a head.  The robots were once called “bots” but they’ve taken over so many jobs, they’re now called “robs”. Showers are taken once a week to save water.  There’s a new global currency, the “bancor”.  The US President announces that the government is defaulting on all loans.  Banks shut down and accounts are frozen.  Inflation is out of control leading to chaos.  The government demands that citizens turn over all gold to them.  Unfortunately, this whole story is far too believable.


Great Grand Man is 97 years old. The Mandible family (and there are a lot of family members) is waiting for him to die so they can inherit his sizeable fortune.  But now not only has that fortune vanished, but they must struggle to survive.  A new world is born and the author does a fabulous job of describing the changes.  There is a truly chilling scene of the army coming into a home with metal detectors searching for hidden gold, with the threat of prison and a $250,000 fine should they find any.  The book takes the family through to 2047 where what’s left of the family ends up in the United States of Nevada.


This is written as a satire and with a dry wit. It’s a very clever book.  I chose this book because I thought “We Need to Talk About Kevin” was such a powerful book so I was anxious to read her newest effort.  This is a very different type of book.  Although I’ve read reviews saying that the book is slow to start, I enjoyed the first quarter of the story very much but by the time I was half way through, I began to lose interest.  I thought the book went on far too long and had made its point early on and the rest was just repetitive.  The author does such an excellent job in detailing human reaction to these disturbing events that I wish she could have curbed some of the social commentary and long financial lessons that just seemed to bog the book down.


This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.