“….[A] powerful work...Prescient, imaginative and funny, it also asks deep questions.” (The Economist)
“Hilarious, brilliant new novel...” (Elle)
“Known for tackling big contemporary issues head-on, Shriver deals skilfully here with the implications of economic meltdown. The novel, set in a near-ish future, tells of the plight of the once wealthy Mandible family and the decline of four generations into penury, thieving and prostitution.” (Financial Times (A Summer Pick of 2016))
“[Shriver has] a sharp social eye and a blistering comic streak, and her focus on nailing down the economic nitty-gritty of her plot is only one piece of the great, disconcerting fun she has in sending the world as we know it so vividly to hell.” (The New Yorker's Page-Turner Blog)
“Shriver has always seemed to be at least a few steps ahead of the rest of us, but her new novel establishes her firmly as the Cassandra of American letters….I don’t remember the last time a novel held me so enduringly in its grip.” (New York Times Book Review)
“It’s scaring the hell out of me.” (Tracy Chevalier)
The world that the Mandible family must negotiate is evoked in seamless detail… One thing I really like is her coining of made-up slang for her younger generation of characters and her resolutely materialist analysis of what could be coming. (Jane Smiley, The Guardian)
“Distinctly chilling.” (Independent (UK))
“This is a sharp, smart, snarky satire of every conspiracy theory and hot button political issue ever spun; one that, at first glance, might induce an absurdist chuckle, until one realizes that it is based on an all-too-plausible reality.” (Booklist (starred review))
From the Back Cover
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. The government prints money to cover its bills. What little remains to savers is rapidly eaten away by runaway inflation.
The Mandibles have been counting on a sizable inheritance once their ninety-seven-year-old patriarch dies. When their birthright turns to ash, what begins as mere disappointment spirals into the challenge of sheer survival.
Avery is petulant that she can’t buy olive oil, while her sister, Florence, is forced to take now-homeless family members into her cramped household. Their aunt Nollie, an expat author, returns from abroad at seventy-three to a country that’s unrecognizable.
Nollie’s brother, Carter, fumes at caring for their demented stepmother, now that an assisted living facility is unaffordable. Only Florence’s oddball teenage son, Willing, an economics autodidact, will save this formerly august American family from the streets.