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The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

The Leftovers (2011)

by Tom Perrotta

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1,3361295,801 (3.41)78
Recently added byprivate library, kleib, stephb6, maven79, jimifenway, MaureenCean, KenHahn, Verkruissen, Erika.D
  1. 10
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: If you appreciated the "what if" quality of The Leftovers and its examination of a changed society in which people are struggling to accept the new normal, you may want to read the dystopian classic Brave New World.

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The premise attracted me, but it was very slow, and nothing especially exciting in the plot developed until half way through the 7th of 8 cd's. I was expecting something that examined the rapture-like event a little more closely, but that is my problem and not the author's. No reason to expect that those "leftover" would come to understand exactly what happened with time. I was really torn between the 2 and the 3. Worth the read I suppose, especially is you like sad, unanchored people. ( )
  MaureenCean | Feb 2, 2016 |
I found this an enjoyable read, with a story and characters that kept me interested and looking forward to opportunities to read more. It was nothing incredibly deep but held some nice reflections on loss, memory, love...how events change shape in restrospect. I also liked the speculation on the types of religious groups that may form in the wake of a "rapture-like" event. They seemed fairly plausible to me. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
This book started off strong for me! The prologue rocked my socks off! Did, or did not, the Rapture just happen? But after that, I slowly, but steadily lost interest, and at the end, I just felt disappointed and uninterested. I just hope I'm not one of The Leftovers! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jan 23, 2016 |
Based on the premise presented in the jacket cover of this book I was looking forward to an atypical story of the rapture and while I got that it was lacking an overall point to the story itself. It felt like a disjoined story that was raising towards something that never came in the story. While characters were well-developed it felt that some were forced into the story in order to add more pages to what could have been a shorter novel, in particular the character of Aimee.

As I was reading the parts with Tom were probably the ones I found myself devouring the quickest, until the last few times he appeared which felt organic for the character, but also a bit lackluster in where you wanted the overall story to end up. The rest of the characters meandered around to the point you wondered if they were going to achieve much of anything at all throughout the story. I feel like I understand that Perrotta was not trying to write a "why did the rapture happen" story, but it feels like he was trying to tell a story of people moving on after a great tragedy. I am not sure how successfully he does that here. While all the characters do indeed move on in some context it feels that many of them stay trapped in their old lives in some capacity. I enjoy a book, personally, where characters move forward or learn something over the course of the pages I read and unfortunately it does not feel like they did here.

If I am giving this thus far a negative review why did I give it three stars? It is well-written. Perrotta obviously knows how to craft a story, but knowing how to craft a story does not always make it a success. What this story lacks is a backbone or something to move it forward towards being more than just a group of people that no one cares to read about. Characters do not even intermingle in a meaningful way for the great majority of the book.

I was left with a bad taste in my mouth for huge chunks of the book, wishing that it would all be over soon. When I finally started to like it I neared the climax of the story. As it neared again the story went to a horrible place for me with the plot, characters, and overall theme of the book. I wanted so much to like this book that I randomly picked up in the bookstore on sale, but unfortunately sometimes there is a reason that a book is marked down and this was one of them. I recommend this for people that are okay reading about everyday life and the changes people can go through after a catastrophic event. I will give Perrotta another chance by reading one of his other works, such as Election or Little Children because you should never judge an author by one singular book that you have read by them but multiple works because an author may be trying a new formula or any number of things with a book, so I say if you don't like this one try another maybe one will click with you or even me in this particular case. ( )
  SoulFlower1981 | Jan 20, 2016 |
I liked it a lot. He's a solid, subtle writer. Not sure what it all means (have to think thru it more) but I enjoyed the time. Not sure why but I was expecting something more at the end. Still, highly enjoyable. ( )
  Charlie-Ravioli | Jan 18, 2016 |
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One might argue that The Leftovers is missing the details of the Sudden Departure that provide the book’s premise, but that is irrelevant to Perrotta’s purpose. In a post-9/11, post-economic-collapse world, we do not require an apocalyptic event to underwrite the plausibility of sudden, catastrophic change. Perrotta’s true interests — and the novel’s rich gifts — lie in exploring the way that traditional suburban structures of meaning fail to cohere under the pressure of such changes
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.
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. And it is these same sections that showcase his gifts as a novelist: his talent for depicting the ordinary (as opposed to metaphoric or supernatural); his affectionate but astringent understanding of his characters and their imperfections; his appreciation of the dark undertow of loss that lurks beneath the familiar, glossy surface of suburban life.
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For Nina and Luke
First words
Laurie Garvey hadn't been raised to believe in the Rapture.
"Is there anything else you want to know? It's kind of a relief to tell you about it."

Nora knew what she meant. As distressing as it was to learn the details of Doug's affair, it also felt therapeutic, as if a missing chunk of the past were being returned to her.

"Just one thing. Did he ever talk about me?"

Kylie rolled her eyes. "Only all the time."


"Yeah. He always said he loved you."

"You're kidding." Nora couldn't hide her skepticism. "He hardly ever said that to me. Not even when I said it first."

"It was like a ritual. Right after we had sex, he'd get all serious and say, This isn't about me not loving Nora." She uttered these words in a deep, manly voice, not at all like Doug's. "Sometimes I said it along with him. This isn't about me not loving Nora."

"Wow. You must've hated me."

"I didn't hate you," Kylie said. "I was just jealous."

"Jealous?" Nora tried to laugh, but the sound died in her throat. It had been a long time since she'd thought of herself as someone other people could be jealous of. "Why?"

"You had everything, you know? The husband, the house, those beautiful kids. All your friends and your nice clothes, the yoga and the vacations. And I couldn’t even make him forget you when he was in my bed."

Nora closed her eyes. Doug had been foggy in her mind for a long time, but all at once he was clear again. She could see him lying beside Kylie, naked and smug after fucking her, earnestly reminding her of his family commitments, his enduring love for his wife, letting her know that she could only have so much, and nothing more.

"He didn't care for me," Nora explained. "He just couldn’t stand to see you happy."
Whern your words are futile, you are better off keeping them to yourself, or never even thinking them in the first place.
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What would happen if The Rapture actually took place and millions of people just disappeared from the earth? How would normal people respond? The residents of Mapleton use a variety of coping mechanisms in this thought-provoking novel about love, connection, and loss.… (more)

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