Mania: A Novel (Hardcover)

Mania: A Novel By Lionel Shriver Cover Image

Mania: A Novel (Hardcover)

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"A fantasy that hews uncomfortably close to today’s reality, where facts and the truth are selectively recognized at increasingly subjective whims . . . . The specifics of Mania are the stuff of bleeding satire, but the novel’s guiding concept cuts close to the bone with no anesthesia. Shriver isn’t one to tip-toe around her subjects. She still knows how to poke the bear. In this case, the bear is us.”  — Boston Globe

Set in a parallel yet all too familiar near past, a brilliant subversive novel about a lifelong friendship threatened by culture wars, from the New York Times bestselling author.

In an alternative 2011, the Mental Parity movement takes hold. Americans now embrace the sacred, universal truth that there is no such thing as variable human intelligence. Because everyone is equally smart, discrimination against purportedly dumb people is "the last great civil rights fight." Tests, grades, and employment qualifications are all discarded. Children are expelled for saying the S-word (“stupid”) and encouraged to report parents who use it at home.

A college English instructor, the constitutionally rebellious Pearson Converse rejected her restrictive Jehovah’s Witness upbringing as a teenager, and so has an aversion to dogma of any kind. Made impotent in the university classroom, she’s also enraged by the crushing of her exceptionally bright children’s spirits in primary school. Fortunately, she enjoys the confidence of a best friend, a media commentator with whom she can speak frankly about her socially unacceptable contempt for the MP movement. Or at least she thinks she can . . . until one day the political chasm between the two women becomes uncrossable, and a lifelong relationship implodes.

With echoes of Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, told in Lionel Shriver’s inimitable and iconoclastic voice, Mania is a sharp, acerbic, and ruthlessly funny book about the road to a delusional, self-destructive egalitarianism that our society is already on.

Although Lionel Shriver has published many novels, a collection of essays, and a column in the Spectator since 2017, and her journalism has been featured in publications including the Guardian, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, she in no way wishes for the inclusion of this information to imply that she is more “intelligent” or “accomplished” than anyone else. The outdated meritocracy of intellectual achievement has made her a bestselling author multiple times and accorded her awards, including the Orange Prize, but she accepts that all of these accidental accolades are basically meaningless. She lives in Portugal and Brooklyn, New York.


Product Details ISBN: 9780063345393
ISBN-10: 0063345390
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: April 9th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English

"Clever." — Los Angeles Times

“Readers craving sharp social commentary need look no further than Shriver, who is at the top of her game with this scary-smart and scathing satire.” — Booklist (starred review)

 “Shriver . . . suffuses this cogent tale of a toxic friendship with contrarian political commentary . . . . Those sympathetic toward Shriver’s anti-groupthink message will find much to enjoy.” — Publishers Weekly

"Seldom is a book as funny, important and timely . . . I was laughing out loud at the same time as my blood was running cold." — John Cleese