The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

57%

15 Critic Reviews

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...
-LA Times

Synopsis

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 Perrotta

See more books from this Author
TOM PERROTTA is the author of eight books, most recently The Leftovers.  Two of his novels—Election and Little Children—have been made into acclaimed and award-winning movies.  Perrotta grew up in New Jersey and now lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
 
Published August 30, 2011 by St. Martin's Press. 366 pages
Genres: Other, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Sep 18 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Leftovers
All: 15 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 9

Kirkus

Excellent
on Apr 05 2011

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.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Stephen King on Aug 25 2011

...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.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Aug 24 2011

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.

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Guardian

Below average
on Mar 30 2012

...after it did finish, I was somewhat less than enraptured.

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Blog Critics

Below average
on Jan 25 2012

Perhaps Perrotta meant for the reader to feel adrift.

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WSJ online

Below average
on Aug 27 2011

..."The Leftovers" becomes ever more implausible and boring.

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Star Tribune

Good
on Sep 01 2011

Perrotta has a gifted ear for dialogue and a distinct appreciation for the particularities of suburban life.

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AV Club

Above average
on Aug 24 2011

The picture is heartbreaking, but in Perrotta’s able hands, it’s always clear.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by David L. Ulin on Sep 11 2011

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

USA Today

Good
Reviewed by Jocelyn McClurg on Aug 29 2011

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.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Below average

...Nora Durst and all of the Garveys seemed more textbook reactions to traumatic loss than fully rounded characters.

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The Seattle Times

Above average
on Sep 03 2011

Perrotta treats his characters with sympathy and invites readers to do the same.

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About.com

Good

The Leftovers also contains an element of suspense that's threaded throughout the story

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Daily Camera

Above average
on Nov 13 2011

The book is sometimes funny and observant, but in the end, deeply melancholy.

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The Daily of the University of Washington

Above average
on Jan 03 2012

The ending isn’t abruptly cut off, but it doesn’t pander to the reader either.

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Reader Rating for The Leftovers
58%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 1531 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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