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

by Tom Perrotta (Author)

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2,2941846,820 (3.42)92
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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.

.
… (more)
Member:ChrisKubica
Title:The Leftovers: A Novel
Authors:Tom Perrotta (Author)
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2014), Edition: Media tie-in, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
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Work Information

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (2011)

  1. 21
    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 92 mentions

English (183)  Catalan (1)  All languages (184)
Showing 1-5 of 183 (next | show all)
i completely understand the section of people who hate open endings of this magnitude but i just eat them up every time. i LOVE and live for the gaps authors leave for me to sit around and think about what they could be filled with. i love the acceptance that i'll never know for sure. i read this after watching the show, so it was fascinating to see the changes the showrunners made from the original story and especially what they ended up leaving behind altogether (justice for jill's shaved head and the GR members at the outpost who fell in love). meg and laurie's storyline had so much life here, i got the time with jill and tom that i desperately wanted, and everyone was just so real. they're messy and fucked up and make the wrong decisions and act out in pain/anger and there aren't resolutions and they don't have time to fix mistakes and they're just dragging themselves through every day full of grief and confusion and i just love them for it!!!!!!!!!! ( )
  bisexuality | Mar 3, 2024 |
I've had this book on the shelf for a long time and only Started to read it when I needed help to make sense of the HBO show that is based on the novel and it was excellent in that regard.

This is a slow moving book with a melancholy feel but by the end it surprised me with it's slightly upbeat and hopeful finish.

Not one that I would recommend to others because it's such an unsettling and mostly unpleasant story but in the end I'm glad I read it myself. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
It's been three years since the Rapture-like event during which millions of people all over Earth randomly disappeared. Whatever triggered the Sudden Departure, though did not discriminate between religions, race, age, or behavior. There was no rhyme or reason to explain who was taken and who remained.

Survivors use different methods to cope. Some, like Laurie Garvey are convinced that the event truly was the Biblical Rapture and join the Guilty Remnant, a cult whose members are never seen in public without a lit cigarette, and are determined to do whatever is necessary to remind everyone that the end is nigh.

Her son, Tom, drops out of college and ends up in a cult of his own. After he meets one of the "wives" of his cult leader, his views slowly begin changing, but he's still chasing dreams and searching for answers.

Her daughter, Jill, has gone from a model student to a party girl who comes home late and is failing classes.

Laurie's husband, Kevin, is busy trying to keep his family together while helping the town to move on. Just when he thinks he will be able to move his own personal life forward, things come to a screeching halt.

I liked that this book was unpredictable. There wasn't a lot of foreshadowing in the story, which made for an interesting read. A few little clues are okay, but I like some surprises. I didn't really like the way the story ended, but I think that was more because I didn't agree with some of the character's decisions than because of any lack in the story itself.

I won this book in a GR First-reads giveaway. ( )
  amandabeaty | Jan 4, 2024 |
This book is written in pretty simple language but it conveys so much grief and loss. It's a pretty great fast read. I'm looking forward to checking out the TV series. ( )
  imjustmea | Dec 23, 2023 |
My one word review of this book is, "What?". I was lost at the beginning, I was lost in the middle, and I just have no idea what happened at the end. There were so many characters to keep track of, and I still do not know how their lives intertwined. I remember reading something about a cult, and I remember that one day in October, many people just disappeared. That's pretty much all I can tell you. The only reason I didn't give it a one-star is because I listened to the audio, and the narrator was great. He's the reason I listened to the end, otherwise, I would have ended the torture a lot earlier. ( )
  tami317 | Dec 13, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 183 (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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Fiction. Literature. HTML:

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.

.

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