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The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
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The Leftovers (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Tom Perrotta

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1,7181526,054 (3.4)84
Member:Alexander19
Title:The Leftovers
Authors:Tom Perrotta
Info:St. Martin's Press (2011), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (2011)

Recently added byrena75, eloquinn, bicknellj
  1. 20
    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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» See also 84 mentions

English (151)  Catalan (1)  All languages (152)
Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
An interesting idea of what would happen if a significant portion of the world's population randomly disappeared, with no detectable rhyme or reason to whom or why. I enjoyed the idea of various cults developing. I read this after watching the HBO series, so was suprrised by the lack of additional characters and not a lot of plot development. There was no real resolution in the book, while the series tried to supply some. ( )
  kimreadthis | May 29, 2018 |
Usually I think Tom Perrotta books make better movies than novels. This is my favorite of his novels that I've read--maybe due to the central conceit more than anything else--and although I don't think it's a great book, I did enjoy it all the way through, which is more than I can say for The Abstinence Teacher. I didn't think Laurie's storyline held together that well--if anyone can explain her motivations to me, drop me a line, because I found pretty much everything she did to be inexplicable--but I still found this to be an engaging read. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
This is one of the few times the book is not as good as the movie/TV show. The show is much more intense and the characters are developed better believe it or not. I found I liked none of the characters in the book. I felt cheated at the end. Like the author just decided that was a good place to stop. Maybe I was expecting too much. ( )
  Fearshop | Mar 31, 2018 |
The Leftovers is a character study in the lives of a group of people after a Rapture-like event occurs, leaving those left behind feeling survivor's guilt and other emotions that change the course of their lives.

I feel that the premise for this story was interesting and was certainly engaged enough to want to learn what happened to the people who were focused on throughout the story, but somewhere along the line it began to feel as though nothing remarkable was to come of any of it. While it was an entertaining read, I closed the book feeling a bit disappointed. ( )
  dariazeoli | Mar 21, 2018 |
It’s March. We are a quarter of the way through the year and already I have found a book that I believe is a serious contender for my book of the year.

The Leftovers takes place three years after an event known as the Rapture by some, and the Sudden Departure by many. Basically, 2% of the earth’s population just disappeared in a split second. The monumental event, whatever it was, did not discriminate across gender, sexual, religious, colour or race lines. Set in the fictional town of Mapleton, New York, this novel examines the effect the Sudden Departure has had on the residents, focusing mainly on the Garvey family – father Kevin, the town mayor, who tries to maintain a positive outlook and a sense of normalcy; wife Laurie, who has left the family to join a cult known as the Guilty Remnant; daughter Jill, who is rebelling as a form of coping with seeing her oldest friend disappear; and son Tom, who put his faith in a man who calls himself Holy Wayne and who believes he has the power to absorb other people’s pain.

A lot of the events in the book could be described as mundane, in that it is people just trying to live their lives, coping with loss, not knowing what happened or why, and searching for ways to get through the pain and confusion. It does make you think ‘what if’, but what I loved about it was the fact that although the Sudden Departure itself is implausible, the reactions of the townsfolk to it do seem entirely believable. I wouldn’t class it necessarily as dystopia, and definitely not as sci-fi, but perhaps alternative reality. A reality that I personally would not want to contemplate!

Lives go off on their own trajectories, and people react in different ways. I loved reading about the residents of this small town, and I only wish there was a sequel. Incidentally, I tried watching the TV adaptation before I even knew that it was based on a book, and while the premise fascinated me, I couldn’t get past two episodes before giving up. The second long flashbacks annoyed me and there seemed to be too many storylines going on, but in the book the storylines all meld together perfectly.

Highly, highly recommended. ( )
  Ruth72 | Mar 16, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
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.
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tom Perrottaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boutsikaris, DennisReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Nina and Luke
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Laurie Garvey hadn't been raised to believe in the Rapture.
Quotations
"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."

"Really?"

"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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