In this fascinating interview on Malaysian radio station BFM 89.9, bestselling author Lionel Shriver discusses the recent US election, cultural appropriation and her recent novel The Mandibles: A Family 2027 – 2047.
In September, the novelist Lionel Shriver caused a stir in the literary world when she delivered a speech about cultural appropriation at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival. In her speech, she argued that censorious identity politics are potentially suffocating to literary inspiration, since authors fear that creating characters from marginalized backgrounds will invite charges of cultural pillaging. The outrage was immediate and far reaching.
Here Lionel talks on the Malaysia radio show Bookmark about her remarks on cultural appropriation as well as her dystopian vision for an America under the presidency of Donald Trump.
About The Mandibles
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 unrecognizable. 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.
The Mandibles is out now in hardback and is available in paperback in March 2017.