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
0312358342
Branch Call Number: FICTION Perrotta Tom
Characteristics: 355 p. ;,25 cm.

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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 »

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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?


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writermala
Aug 31, 2020

This book seemed so improbable - until it didn't. Suddenly on October 14th a few people just disappeared causing an unexplained void in the lives of those left behind - the leftovers. This satire would be almost silly if the author hadn't handled it with such sensitivity and such real characters. He talks of those that disappeared, those left behind and those who joined a group called "Guilty Remnants" who were handling the situation in their own unique way. All in all a very 'different' book and worth reading.

e
EljayJohnson
Jul 20, 2019

In a random poof! moment, millions of people disappear from the earth. Of course, numerous people believe it's the Rapture but it sure doesn't look like the Christian one many are expecting. But this book isn't interested in the departed and the why's and wherefore's of that; it's about the folks left behind and how they cope individually and as a society. The novel focuses on one family of 4 and some of their friends and fellow residents of smallish town/suburban Mapleton. The novel follows several plotlines, one for each family member (dad Kevin, mom Laurie, college-age Tom, and high schooler Jill), plus some others. It's an ambitious book and mostly successful. I loved the moments of black humor and irony and wish there had been more of that - the little bit about the departed celebrities, the story of the priest who must defame all who left to justify his exclusion from the Rapture - that stuff was brilliant. Everything about the Guilty Remnant cult was believable, horrifying, infuriating, and tragic. I liked how the stories focused on both events and emotions caused by the non-Rapture, and everyday life in the aftermath. One negative for me was Tom's storyline; while I liked and sympathized with the character, his plot felt tacked on and even a bit nonsensical. Another was the ending. It didn't feel like there was one - the book and characters just seemed to run out of steam and stop. But all in all, a satisfying and enjoyable read and I think it will stay with me; Perrotta presented a lot of ideas and issues that I'll be thinking about for awhile.

c
Charlea1
Mar 25, 2019

Great read unfortunately they made it into a TV series and ruined it.

ArapahoeStaff26 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.

s
Soundreader
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.

j
jmgarrett
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.

j
john_doh17
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.

p
Persnickety77
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.

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