The Mandibles

A Family, 2029-2047
Narrated by: George Newbern
Length: 13 hrs and 45 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (551 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $34.22

Buy for $34.22

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

With dry wit and psychological acuity, this near-future novel explores the aftershocks of an economically devastating US sovereign debt default on four generations of a once-prosperous American family. Down-to-earth and perfectly realistic in scale, this is not an over-the-top Blade Runner tale. It is not science fiction.

In 2029 the United States is engaged in a bloodless world war that will wipe out the savings of millions of American families. Overnight, on the international currency exchange, the "almighty dollar" plummets in value, to be replaced by a new global currency: the "bancor". In retaliation the president declares that America will default on its loans. With "Deadbeat Nation" being unable to borrow, the government prints money to cover its bills. What little remains for savers is rapidly eaten away by runaway inflation.

The Mandibles have been counting on a sizable fortune filtering down when their 97-year-old patriarch dies. Once the inheritance turns to ash, each family member must contend with disappointment but also - as the US economy spirals into dysfunction - the challenge of sheer survival.

Recently affluent, Avery is petulant that she can't buy olive oil while her sister, Florence, absorbs strays into her cramped household. An expat author, their aunt Nollie returns from abroad at 73 to a country that's unrecognizable. Her brother, Carter, fumes at caring for their demented stepmother now that an assisted living facility isn't affordable. Only Florence's oddball teenage son, Willing, an economics autodidact, will save this formerly august American family from the streets.

The Mandibles is about money. Thus it is necessarily about bitterness, rivalry, and selfishness - but also about surreal generosity, sacrifice, and transformative adaptation to changing circumstances.

©2016 Lionel Shriver (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Mandibles

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    293
  • 4 Stars
    152
  • 3 Stars
    65
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    23
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    310
  • 4 Stars
    114
  • 3 Stars
    45
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    8
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    269
  • 4 Stars
    125
  • 3 Stars
    59
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    19

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

So that's what the left and the right have in common!!!

Anyone who dislikes liberals or conservatives in this present climate should give this a listen with an open mind. The two views of humanity and society DO have some similarities and this book is a commentary on both through the adventures of the book's protagonist. There does seem to be a conservative bent in terms of the government role in American life, the definition of freedom, and taking responsibility for oneself. The liberal POV is exhibited in the characters' incredulity around the conflation of change and loss of identity, clinging desperately to one stagnant view of American identity and the need & respect for family, kindness and community
I have met the characters and find them plausible, overall. I don't believe city dwellers would be as thick as they are portrayed, but understand how this keeps the story moving.
Good listen and riveting with how plausible this dystopian future is. Going too far in either direction could wreak havoc on everything!
Fight for your freedom, don't believe everything you hear, your ally can come in any shade, always be prepared, keep your ear to the ground & always, always be kind to one another... Unless,you REALLY can't. Sometimes, it may pay to be the bad guy in order to be good.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not Shriver's best, but her books are always worth a read

When the book sticks to the story and the wonderful characters, it's compelling. Unfortunately, the prose all too frequently mires in lengthy, tedious, largely irrelevant economic theorizing. The story itself provides great demonstrations of the dramatic economic situations; showing works, telling doesn't. Often witty, this book is a must for us Shriver devotees. I'd recommend many other titles to the uninitiated.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Prescient

The Mandibles describes the upcoming collapse of a society that has been built upon a facade of debt and a fiat monetary system. It takes place in the future USA but you can watch the prequel take place in Venezuela today. The debt, demographics, deleveraging, and technology all play their role in this dystopian debacle. At first the catalysts act slowly, but as each actor adapts and reacts to the slow motion disaster, the half life of each accommodation to the new reality shortens and speeds up the process. Those who panic first preserve their wealth the best. Those who call the government's bluff on their threats to use their monopoly of force to rob the citizens of their assets and savings also benefit. This is the future for the USA. Our debts cannot be paid. Our budget deficits cannot be sustained. Our unfunded liabilities, like social security, medicare, and private pensions will be inflated away. Capital controls and asset forfeiture are our future. Use this novel to plan accordingly.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best audio book thus far! Well written!

The narrator did an awesome job describing the economic situation. I hope the author will consider following the Mandibles in the new world. The Characters made for great stories!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Most Excellent!

Should be required reading for every US citizen. We all need to be more mindful of the future our countries current "Economic Policy" is creating. This is only scary because of how close to reality the facts of the book truly are.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

entertaining but a bit wonkish

a nice enough story, but the economics lessons come on stronger than the dollar after another Greek euro default.

the plot stretches credulity, and characters don't act like people would really act. for example, the mandibles lose their home and car because one man holds them at gunpoint. in reality the family would have called the cops ... the fire dept showed up the chapter previous to fight a fire. instead, the family walks hundreds of miles in winter to a remote farm? i think they would have waited for the gunman to leave the house at the very least, or gotten another gun. silly stuff like that made me wince.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Meh...

I love doomer fiction and this story had so much potential! But it just fell flat. The storyline was a great one -- wealthy family falls to the level of homelessness after the economy collapses. Something about the delivery was just off, though. The narrator did a fantastic job, but the author's superfluous use of big words was too distracting at times. It's like he had a thesaurus at hand, and felt the need to throw a big, new word in every few paragraphs. I'm an avid reader and have a better-than-average vocabulary, and even I found this to be a bit over the top obnoxious. Also, the characters weren't very likable. Some of them were down right detestable, but it's hard to pull through a novel when you don't really care about what happens to any of the characters. Yes, there were a few great scenes that were really interesting and almost got me to the point where I was really getting into the novel, but enevitably the dumping of information via the guise of family bickering amongst everyone was just too much. Finally, the big leap in time just threw the whole thing off for me. The story was just getting good at the point where the Mandible family was forced to leave their urban home and head upstate to a family farm when *bloop* -- suddenly the story flashes forward a decade into the future. I get what the author was trying to do, but he lost me at that point. It just killed the momentum. I tried to stick with it, but I ended up deleting the book about two hours from the end. I was bored. Still, it has a ton of potential and maybe other listeners out there will like it better. Lots of talk of economic and financial systems. Horrifyingly real.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

"Atlas Shrugged" for the 21st century

A chilling and entirely plausible tale which doesn't require much of a stretch of the imagination.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Atlas Mugged

Ms Shriver’s vision of the late great USA is frightening. Like a new Ayn Rand she gets it. Taxation is theft. Government is not you friend. It comes from the Latin words mentis (mind) and gubernare (control). Fiat currency always collapses. Government via the private Fed print more of it. This is the real inflation and a hidden tax on the tax slaves. Lionel demonstrates the inevitable result of currency devaluation; run away price inflation. The Fed creates more debt which goes to their bankster partners as credit. First in line they profit most and like in the 2008 crisis the debt is paid by the hapless taxpayers. Debt destroys. The pin headed, and soon unemployed, Keynesian economist in the story reminds us of Paul Krugman the much heralded idiot who said debt doesn’t matter, “We owe it to ourselves.” Our creditors, the Chinese are cashing in our debt and buying up huge amounts of U.S. real estate and other assets. I heard about The Mandibles from James Richards. His book Aftermath is next in my pile. Neither is what we want to hear but must!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Super fun!!

For economists and preppers alike. Not a doomsday shootout, but a thoughtful, realistic vision of a family trying to live and be happy.

1 person found this helpful