Award-winning novelist and journalist, Lionel Shriver joined the Creative Writing Reading Series to talk about her latest novel, The Mandibles, politics, the economy, and writing fiction. When asked if she’d worried about relevancy issues while working on the novel, Shriver answered, “If you feel as if you’re obliged to predict the future, you’ll seize up. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong; you just have to tell a plausible story.” Inspired by the 2007-08 recession, the novel deals with what happens when currency no longer works. “Everything that made things a little wonky [in 2008] still exists,” Shriver said, adding that, in regards to the current economic state, currency only still works “because we need it to work.”
When the discussion turned to the current state of American political affairs, Shriver observed, “The difference between what [the United States] is and what it thinks it is hasn’t been a huge chasm. And not it’s becoming a chasm, and that makes people nervous.” She also went on to say, as a possible catalyst to the election result, that while the left is already celebrating an egalitarian society, “we’re not there yet, and these people are not going to go quietly. And that’s what happened in the election.”
The evening finished with a lively Q&A, and a reading from The Mandibles which illustrated both the humour and tragedy woven into its plot.