The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Hardcover, Deckle Edge
From Lionel Shriver, the acclaimed author of the National Book Award finalist So Much for That and the international best seller We Need to Talk About Kevin, comes a striking new novel about family, money, and global economic crisis.
The year is 2029, and nothing is as it should be. The very essence of American life, the dollar, is under attack. In a coordinated move by the rest of the world's governments, the dollar loses all its value. The American president declares that the States will default on all its loans; prices skyrocket, currency becomes essentially worthless, and we watch one family struggle to survive through it all.
The Mandibles can count on their inheritance no longer, and each member must come to terms with this in their own way - from the elegant expat author Nollie, in her middle age, returning to the US from Paris after many years abroad; to her precocious teenage nephew, Willing, who is the only one to actually understand the crisis; to the brilliant Georgetown economics professor Lowell, who watches his whole vision of the world disintegrate before his eyes.
As ever, in her new novel Shriver draws larger than life characters who illuminate this complicated, ever-changing world. One of our sharpest observers of human nature, Shriver challenges us to think long and hard about the society we live in and what, ultimately, we hold most dear.
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|Listening Length||13 hours and 45 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||June 21 2016|
|Publisher||HarperCollins Publishers Ltd|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #26,153 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1,262 in Literary Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#2,793 in Family Life
#7,879 in Literary Fiction (Books)
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Having read the first few pages I wasn't sure why I had delayed so long. This book is great and written in the author's usual, dry and sardonic style.
The novel starts in 2029 after an economic crash in the US which has turned the world upside down. It's really interesting to see the different levels of predictions from the mundane to the global. This book will become even more fascinating to read as we get closer to the actual date (remember all the interest in 1984?).
I love the details - the names of the characters are intriguing, particularly the children (Goog, Bing, Willing, Fifa as examples) and the use of technology is very inventive.
There is something quite eerie when you see a world which is similar to the present day but worse and all the differences are very plausible. It is a frightening to think about the speed of change - imagine a world with no Amazon, no Apple and no Google as they have all gone in this novel.
At times there are some very detailed descriptions of the financial markets which lost me unless I was working really hard with the narrative. It is an essential part of the story though as everything hangs on what happens with the money that is available.
The humour is bleak but laugh out loud funny at times - "Plots set in the future are about what people fear in the present" - how true is that!!
I've read a lot of recent work by this author in the media commenting on society and politics which gave this novel a huge amount of gravitas. There is an uneasy feeling that you are not just reading a work of fiction and that you are listening to someone who is telling the truth.
It's a sobering experience, watching on as the society crumbles and I found that I could only read this book in relatively short sessions, this also allowed her messages of doom to sink in. I took strong messages from this book and will be talking about it for sometime.
Much of the novel is negative about the human spirit but there are glimpses of good in humanity and they are shown when they are particularly needed.
I have to say that I was pleased when I reached the end as it is a tough read but I had gained much from the messages in the way that I think about the economy.
I desperately want to recommend this to everyone but will need to be selective as this will be too intense for many.
This novel was recommended by Lord Frost, a person who has been described as having that rare ability of a really good grasp of technical policy detail and in the same breath can see the big picture. So I knew this novel was going to be a challenging read. And so it was.
Remembering this is just a novel as I read it was quite hard because there was so much in it that seemed portentous. In between complex financial way-over-my-little-head stuff, there was a flippant tone, as if the author were trying out different aspects of her personality through the various characters; in effect, trying these people on for size. Overall, what I took away from this novel was a content of stunningly raw emotion.