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.
A unique tale almost deceptively simple in its telling. This was a terrific book.
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 enjoyed the story but it didn't encompass me. The performance was great. I would consider reading another book by this author.
Very good story. Great concept.
I really enjoyed the whole thing but I deducted one star because I found the ending lacking
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This is the story of the people left behind after mysterious event causes the disappearance of a zillion people. How do they move on? What happens next? How do they adapt to the new normal?
Frankly, “The Event” (referred to as The Rapture) could have been anything; people suddenly vanishing, a natural disaster, or even a 9/11 type catastrophe – it was just footnote. There was no story line that examined the how or why of what happened and this disappointed me; it would have been interesting.
The sheer ordinariness of the people’s new lives in their new reality made me lose track of the story and although I was interested while I was paying attention, I still found that I was tuning out a lot. In fact, I once forgot to book mark my place and I am not sure if I picked it up where I left off… but didn’t really notice a gap.
Life goes on - great life lesson but not so compelling for a novel. Perhaps I missed the point but the whole story seemed “too ordinary”. I felt like the book just showed me snippets of lives, vignettes of how people are dealing and left me with too many loose ends to really feel satisfied.
Paul Pape Designs
This just wasn't for me. I was hoping for a fresh take on the Rapture and not a heavy-handed religious brow-beating. It's not that. It's a fresh take on the Rapture from the perspectives of those who live through it. But here's the thing, if you remove the Rapture plot, and put in a shooting, or a flood, or a tornado, it's the same thing. The Rapture isn't the point. Loss is. We've all lost things. Our favorite toy, a loved one, a boyfriend/girlfriend. We've all had to cope with that loss. And that coping isn't entertaining. It's necessary, but it isn't fun to live through. Now if I told you a room full of strangers you just met (not spoken to, just viewed through one-way glass) had all just experienced loss and that it was your job to watch them deal with it and write it all down, then you would have this book. It's a "day in the life" of people who lost something and can't figure out why and need to cope with it as best they can with limited tools. If you are a fan of reality television shows like Intervention and Hoarders, then this might be what you want. If you are looking for escapism, a thought-provoking take on a religious calamity, or to be entertained, I couldn't recommend this book less.
I'm a busy mom who loves to listen to books. Mostly I listen on my way to and from work.
Yes! There were a lot of characters and story lines and at times it was difficult to keep them all in line.
Oddly enough, I liked all the storylines and the way they all were linked together.
There were a lot of good scenes
It did neither but it did make me think what I would be like if this scenario happened to me.
It was a good book and I would recommend it to others.
I loved the deceptive simplicity of the story. So simple and so layered and complex at the same time. Great narration, kept the rhythm and cadence of the superb writing.
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