A new original series from HBO, based on the New York Times bestselling novel by Tom Perrotta.
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.
©2011 St. Martin's Press (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
This novel works better in concept than in execution. The idea of "the rapture" as a dark comedy is appealing, but as the author implies in his post-read interview, what starts out as a humorous spoof on the remnant that is "left behind" quickly moves into a story about loss and about dealing with sudden bereavement. It's reads like a comedy of manners gone wrong, and while Perrotta maintains an ironic, amused distance from his various personas, the reader is left with few relatable characters or situations. There are multiple story lines, a structure which works well, but the narrative elements are all viewed from a detached clinical distance. I like the book, especially the title as a parody of the "Left Behind" series, and do recommend it, but Perrotta's signature tone seems to work better when it's not so heavy-handed.
The narration is perfect. Boutsikaris' voice is mellow and sonorous, un-accented and without unnecessary drama or extremes of expression.
I listened to the first half thinking that the second half would devope the real storyline, but it never happened. The entire book is a discription on how the sudden departure effected a handfull of people emotionally. then the book ends abruptly and with out and real conclusion. I had to replay the last 5 minutes a few times to make sure it was really the ending.
I loved every second of this audiobook. The idea behind it is so creative and new, I never knew what would come next. The rapture was a concept I had never thought much about, but now I can't stop thinking about it. Not that I'm expecting the real thing, but I think there are so many parallels to be made to real life tragedies. Perrotta did a great job exploring how we realistically cope with loss even in the most unrealistic of circumstances. Worth noting that I didn't find it depressing even though it deals with so many heavy topics.
I was drawn to the story by the excellent HBO trailer for the upcoming drama based on the book. The premise is brilliant…suddenly a random 2% of the population disappears. The book starts well but stubbornly refuses to go anywhere. The writing is measured and generally interesting but the plot development just doesn't happen. There are several interesting maybe compelling plot areas opened but never really explored. There are no real villains or heroes and nobody to root for or against, everyone in the story is dealing with their corner of loss in each subplot more or less in isolation. I read that this started out as a satire on the left behind books and some aspects of the story are mildly amusing…but it’s far from biting social satire. It’s a great idea which just doesn't go anywhere...which is a pity.
I enjoyed the story but it didn't encompass me. The performance was great. I would consider reading another book by this author.
I'm about 1/3 of the way into it and nothing is happening. An unreasonable amount of time has been devoted to the present state of mind of a teenage girl whose friend disappeared, and now we're hearing way too much about the present state of mind of her brother who is off to college.
Is anything going to HAPPEN?
So far it's really boring and I'm just about ready to bail.
Not really. Felt pointless.
Given more depth to the characters. Just all felt meaningless. Maybe that was what the author was going for.
I heard it may be an HBO series, why I read it. Hope that story will be better.
Very good story. Great concept.
I really enjoyed the whole thing but I deducted one star because I found the ending lacking
A real story would have made this better. Unfortunately I stayed with it hoping something would happen. Heard an NPR interview with the author as the HBO series was going to launch. As one reviewer said, HBO has a pretty low bar to hit.
It was a great idea executed through the mundane, lame personalities of the characters. As a result, there was no overriding communication, no big realization. No real tension. it's like a PBS show about growing old: you don't get nicer or meaner as you get older, you just get more of what you were before. These characters were lame before the "event" and they remain lame after. I actually tried to get through the final two hours by putting in an earbud and "listening" in the background. Now I wish I had quite.
He did very well with poor material.
Very hard to choose. I didn't feel connected to any of them.
No one sets out to make a bad movie or write a bad piece. This was just not for me. I like my fiction with a purpose. In graduate school, talking about "the narrative turn" one noted professor said, "We look for change in the writer from beginning to end." These characters did not change. As a result, we shared their mundaneness in an extraordinary time.
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