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The Leftovers: A Novel by Tom Perrotta

The Leftovers: A Novel (original 2011; edition 2014)

by Tom Perrotta (Author)

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1,9941706,139 (3.41)90
When a bizarre phenomenon causes the cataclysmic disappearances of numerous people all over the world, Kevin Garvey, the new mayor of a once-comfortable suburban community, struggles to help his neighbors heal while enduring the fanatical religious conversions of his wife and son.
Title:The Leftovers: A Novel
Authors:Tom Perrotta (Author)
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2014), Edition: Media tie-in, 384 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (2011)

  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 90 mentions

English (168)  Catalan (1)  All languages (169)
Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed the "voice" of this book, it was pitched perfectly for me. The book is essentially about how people react to unexpected and traumatic events and I found the variety of the reactions to be s book has been on my to be read shelf for a while and I'm very happy I finally got to it. I am a fan of the HBO series as well although I think the second season kind of got off track. Reading the book provides a lot more insight into the motivations of the characters, as is so often the case. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
This lost a bit of steam towards the end, but I still heartily recommend it. Somehow it is the secondary characters who are the most intriguing. The silent, cigarette-puffing Guilty Remnants, the sex-and-druggy Barefoot People and the hug-dispensing, teenage bride-taking Holy Wayne are just some of the odd phenomena that people (in America, anyway) have latched onto to deal with millions of people disappearing. Listening to this right after Zone One provided an interesting contrast. ( )
  flemertown | Jul 10, 2021 |
I was so looking forward to this book - what a great premise! But so many of the characters were incredibly frustrating ( Christine, Nora, need I go on?) and the whole cult sub-plot dragged on and on, and I could not relate at all to Laurie (just up and leaving her daughter like that, particularly when she wasn't even directly touched by loss herself?). Even though i had lost interest in the book by about the mid point, and just wanted it to end, I also found the ending itself abrupt and jarring. A real disappointment. ( )
  porte01 | Jan 25, 2021 |
I was really looking forward to this, but I found it almost instantly forgettable ( )
  ParadisePorch | Dec 22, 2020 |
This had everything going for it - good writing, characters, and overall concept. Unfortunately, something just didn't click with me. I liked it but I noticed that I would abandon it for days and not rush to pick it back up. I don't know why; it didn't overwhelm me. But it wasn't bad at all. I'm torn on it. ( )
  JustZelma | Dec 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 168 (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.
"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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When a bizarre phenomenon causes the cataclysmic disappearances of numerous people all over the world, Kevin Garvey, the new mayor of a once-comfortable suburban community, struggles to help his neighbors heal while enduring the fanatical religious conversions of his wife and son.

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