The Leftovers

The Leftovers

Book - 2011
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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.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312358341
Branch Call Number: FICTION Perrotta Tom 08/2011
Characteristics: 355 p. ;,25 cm.


From Library Staff

JCLGreggW Jul 05, 2013

The master of the novel of modern suburban angst, Tom Perotta's book envisions a non-secular rapture - people of any faith - across racial, age, and gender lines - suddenly and inexplicably vanish one day. Perrotta examines the fallout of this event on a small town - relationships are strained, c... Read More »

JCLHelenH Mar 20, 2013

The town of Mapleton is reeling after "The Sudden Departure", when large numbers of random people vanish into thin air. What would you do?

From the critics

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ArapahoeAnnaL Dec 14, 2017

Lucky for us Tom Perrotta changed his mind about writing the "Leftovers" as a comic post-apocalypse novel. This books is so much more. Yes, there are comic elements but these characters are real and it's fascinating to see ourselves in the different ways they respond to a Rapture-like event.

Feb 19, 2017

Liked this book and story from page one. Character perspective changes from chapter to chapter. Perrotta is great at pulling us into the minds of his characters and their decisions. One of his most unusual plot lines but very thought provoking.

Feb 29, 2016

It has been three years since the unbelievable event of October 14th. Some members of the population had instantaneously disappeared and left the people who had remained—some losing family members and friends—confused, shocked or numb. In Mapleton, the stable new mayor Kevin Garvey is coping with the fallout as his family is a microcosm of the event which is called either God’s Rapture or, simply, the “Sudden Departure.” Kevin’s wife, Laurie, has left the family for a local cult vowed to silence called the Guilty Remnant, son Tom has left college to follow a dubious prophet and daughter Jill has started to fail in her classes in high school. Writer Perrotta’s revolving narrative of characters and complex story is highly entertaining and well-crafted.

Jan 14, 2016

The idea of people suddenly just being gone is the main thing that got me wanting to read this book. The idea is interesting, but overall this book was not. I felt disappointed by it and agree with those who said in their reviews of it that it "falls flat". Despite it being fairly well written, I would not recommend this book. I feel like I just wasted my time reading it.

Mar 06, 2015

To me this seemed to be a look at how people cope with loss under an artificial construct of a pseudo Rapture with a slight twist of mystery. The characters deal with their loss, and why were they still here while those they cared about (although with some issues) on a mass scale. Everyone deals with loss, but not everyone does it at the same time (usually- and not on a world wide scale - at least not for a long while). To me that was the most interesting angle of this novel.

PaulaBlix Jan 05, 2015

Overall, I love Tom Perrotta. So far I've read Little Children, The Leftovers and The Abstinence Teacher. I think Little Children was the best of those but I did like all three.
The Leftovers was interesting and had some great quirky ideas. But basically, I would give any Tom Perrotta book a shot.

Nov 24, 2014

this book didn't move me, and i think i expected it to. the subject matter is pretty rich and ripe with potential, so i must have been anticipating something grand, and that may explain why i feel disappointed.

i like the plot of this novel, i like where perrotta takes us, but overall it still felt a little flat.

Karaelena Nov 07, 2014

This book was very somber/melancholy. Oddly enough, the saddness was relatable and the story did not drag. The book is about a town and it's people recovering from the loss of loved ones or atleast attempting to recover. I thought it was a very real depiction of the human reaction to an event so catastrophic and widespread. Relationships are severed because of the departure and that deeply affects any future relationships. I know the big question that would be on everyone's minds (especially because of the HBO series) "So what exactly happened to everyone??" And many people may find it disappointing that that question is never really answered *spoiler alert*. However, what I found most interesting was the fact that Perotta managed to direct everyone's attention away from the people who disapeared and centering it on "The Leftovers" (aptly named). Very well written and an easy read. That's not to say that it wasn't thought provoking. Overall, I very much enjoyed this book and would even read it again incase I missed anything.

Oct 13, 2014

I loved the first season of the HBO series so I wanted to check out the source material. The book is much lighter than the show, and I also feel like the show is much better fleshed out, character-wise.

WVMLStaffPicks Aug 29, 2014

What would happen if millions of people disappeared from Earth in a Rapture-like event? In particular, what would happen to those left behind? Although this could easily be the premise of a dystopian sci-fi novel, Perrotta chooses instead to view the world after such a cataclysmic event through the eyes of a typical suburban family in a typical suburban town. More mildly comic than bleak, this is an intriguing look at ordinary humans trying to cope in extraordinary circumstances.

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