James Thane's Reviews > The Leftovers

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
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May 09, 12

Read in May, 2012

What if there suddenly were a "Rapture" or something like it, where millions of people around the world disappeared in an instant, vaporized into nothingness? How would those left behind cope with such an amazing and inexplicable development?

Such is the premise of Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers, which focuses on the small town of Mapleton and on the family of the newly-elected mayor, Kevin Garvey. Everyone in town has been affected by the event and large numbers of people have been traumatized, though no one knows exactly what has happened. Some fervently believe that this was, in fact, the Rapture for which some Christians have long awaited, though some of the "leftover" Christians cannot understand why some Muslims, Jews and others were carried away while they were left behind. Many non-believers refuse to accept this explanation and attribute the disappearance to some strange phenomenon that no one can understand.

Over time, the event becomes known as the "Sudden Departure," and people react in a variety of ways. Some join religious cults, expecting that the End Days are near. Others attempt to return to a "normal" life, as if nothing had happened. Large numbers of people are, understandably, traumatized and cannot get over the loss of the family members and friends who so abruptly left their lives.

As is clear from his previous book,The Abstinence Teacher, Perrotta has a keen insight into modern suburban life. In this book, he has created a memorable cast of characters and he examines their lives with sympathy, wit and wisdom. This is a very enjoyable and compelling book that will leave readers thinking about its premise and about its characters for a very long time.
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message 1: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda I've been on the fence about whether or not to read this one. I think I just fell off the fence on the side of "buy-it-as-soon-as-possible."


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