A New York Times Notable Book for 2011
A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book for 2011
A USA Today 10 Books We Loved Reading in 2011 Title
One of NPR's 10 Best Novels of 2011
What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?
That's what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened—not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.
Kevin Garvey, Mapleton's new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin's own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne. Only Kevin's teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she's definitely not the sweet "A" student she used to be. Kevin wants to help her, but he's distracted by his growing relationship with Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family on October 14th and is still reeling from the tragedy, even as she struggles to move beyond it and make a new start.
With heart, intelligence and a rare ability to illuminate the struggles inherent in ordinary lives, Tom Perrotta has written a startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss.
About Tom PerrottaSee more books from this Author
Though the tone is more comic than tragic, it is mainly empathic, never drawing a distinction between “good” and “bad” characters, but recognizing all as merely human—ordinary people dealing with an extraordinary situation.Read Full Review of The Leftovers | See more reviews from Kirkus
...Perrotta suggests that in times of real trouble, extremism trumps logic and dialogue becomes meaningless. Read as a metaphor for the social and political splintering of American society after 9/11, it’s a chillingly accurate diagnosis.Read Full Review of The Leftovers | See more reviews from NY Times
It is the portions of “The Leftovers” where Mr. Perrotta avoids the more cartoony and melodramatic aspects of his story (having to do with the Sudden Departure and the Guilty Remnant) that are by far the most persuasive.Read Full Review of The Leftovers | See more reviews from NY Times
And yet as smart and compelling as this is, there's also something missing, if not from the concept then from the novel itself. Perhaps the clearest way to explain it is that Perrotta never fully draws us into the emotional lives of his characters...Read Full Review of The Leftovers | See more reviews from LA Times
His characters have a surprising depth to them, and we feel their confusion, pain and suffering. We know them. We hope they can figure out a way to live — because even after a catastrophe, life goes on. Read The Leftovers. Don't get left behind.Read Full Review of The Leftovers
...Nora Durst and all of the Garveys seemed more textbook reactions to traumatic loss than fully rounded characters.Read Full Review of The Leftovers
Perrotta treats his characters with sympathy and invites readers to do the same.Read Full Review of The Leftovers
The Leftovers also contains an element of suspense that's threaded throughout the storyRead Full Review of The Leftovers
The book is sometimes funny and observant, but in the end, deeply melancholy.Read Full Review of The Leftovers
The ending isn’t abruptly cut off, but it doesn’t pander to the reader either.Read Full Review of The Leftovers
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