Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Lessons from Literature 6: The Mandibles: A Family 2029 – 2047.

The Mandibles: A Family 2029 – 2047 by Lionel Shriver is one of the novels I was reading when I was away in North Korea and China. Kind of ironic, really, because it deals with what happens when the US government runs out of money to service their trillions of dollars worth of loans and defaults. Guess which country rises up to take advantage of the situation?

This is a relatively slow-moving but gripping read. We see through the eyes of one reasonably privileged family what happens as their society gradually unravels at the seams. Shriver has clearly done her homework on how financial markets work and the implications and consequences when things start to turn pear-shaped. Most of us in the FI/RE community have started to scrape together a working knowledge of how the financial world works – you’ll find this novel VERY interesting indeed.

I loved it. I found it scary as hell, though the little titbits she puts in about other countries are very clever, particularly what happens to Australia and Japan. I think I gave it a 5-star review on Goodreads. It’s been a while since I’ve read it but I still think of some of the things that happened, while so many other novels I’ve read have drifted away into oblivion.


  1. Tread Lightly, Retire Early

    I’ve not heard of this book, but now I’m intrigued!

  2. Jaybeenz

    I love this book. How they become increasingly frugal/desperate. Very interesting how the different family members cope. Also there is a big where the mention the us intervening in the war in NZ!!
    If I’m feeling spendy, this book is great to reset myself!
    But the worst bit, global warming has destroyed coffee crops!!! Noooooo

    • Frogdancer

      Australia gets a mention too. Maybe I’m glad I’m living nowadays… ?

  3. Barb

    Fabulous book, so realistic.We have lived in very privileged times!!

    • Frogdancer

      Yes, it certainly seems so.


  4. Jamie

    Have you read Shriver’s So Much For That? I found it an interesting read, from a FIRE perspective. Interesting in itself, too.

    • Frogdancer

      I haven’t heard of that one. I’ll have to hunt it up, thanks for the heads up.

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