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The Leftovers

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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.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 06, 2011 – Perrotta (The Abstinence Teacher) gets seriously dystopian with his sixth novel when millions of people vanish into thin air one fine October day. Although the "Sudden Departure" resembles the Rapture, it was a secular event, leaving a hodgepodge of survivors with neither solace nor faith. Despite the fact that her family was left intact, suburban housewife Laurie Garvey feels compelled to leave her husband, the mayor of Mapleton, and their two teenage children, to join the Guilty Remnant, a cult that still believes the end of the world is nigh. G.R. members must obey three rules: remain silent, wear white, and smoke cigarettes. Perrotta wittily and economically establishes this intriguing premise, but then largely sidelines his sharp satiric eye in favor of a straightforward examination of loss and bewilderment. Laurie's motivations are frustratingly vague: "She had joined the G.R. because... she had no choice." The senseless, sometimes absurd mission of the cult mirrors the gaping hole blown into modern morality, as hapless survivors trudge about, failing to connect in meaningful ways. Laurie's daughter, Jill, is morally adrift, and her son, Tom, comes under the sway of a charlatan religious healer, until suffering a cruel disillusionment. Though all the ennui is surely the point, the end of the world isn't much fun.

Customer Reviews


I know the book is about the lives of those left behind....I just wish I didn't feel like I had so many more questions.

The Leftovers

This is a horrible book. The characters were unloveable. Only the depraved, depressed, or immoral people could relate to the characters. There was no point nor any resolution of thought in the story. I kept reading to find any redeeming factor, but found none. I am sad I wasted my time and money on this book.

Don't bother

This book goes nowhere. There is no depth and no conclusion.

The Leftovers
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Aug 30, 2011
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings