Emily's Reviews > The Leftovers

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
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May 03, 2012

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bookshelves: 2012
Read in May, 2012

I like Tom Perrotta's middle-era work (Election, Joe College, Little Children) best, but this was still worth reading. It depicts his usual suburban (obscurely New Jerseyite) milieu, but after a mysterious Rapture-like event has caused millions to disappear. Only the departed were not necessarily religious or even good people, leaving "the leftovers" unsatisfied and disoriented. Many of the characters turn to religion, which is portrayed here as a nonreligious person might view it: a series of more or less bizarre displacement activities meant to distract us from the terrifying uncertainties of life.

Despite the weirdly off-kilter scenery, this book is still what Perrotta does best: cannily observed, teacup-sized stories of the strange conglomerations of people who find themselves in the same suburban house. This is not my beautiful wife, or totally annoying mom, or skeezy middle-aged husband, or angry lesbian sister, or embarrassing working-class dad, or whatever. In Perrotta's world, the suburbs are desperate and pathetic in some ways, but the stories then crystallize around a certain moment of the summer twilight that is beautiful and full of promise.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by James (new)

James Nice to see a member with so many solid reviews.

Emily Thanks! I used to have to write these capsules for work and I still enjoy doing it.

message 3: by James (new)

James Emily wrote: "Thanks! I used to have to write these capsules for work and I still enjoy doing it."

Former acquisitions editor? I understand, I used to write thousands of abstracts of humanities articles, for a bibliographic firm. Intellectual haiku.

Emily My title was lowlier than that, but otherwise you're spot-on.

message 5: by James (new)

James My title was lowlier than yours. :-)

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