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The Leftovers | [Tom Perrotta]

The Leftovers

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (557 )
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3.9 (470 )
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Performance
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  •  
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 09-03-11
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 09-03-11 Member Since 2003

    glam

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4348
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    "The title is the best part"

    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.

    56 of 58 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rochelle Mammoth Lakes, CA, United States 09-29-11
    Rochelle Mammoth Lakes, CA, United States 09-29-11 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Was there a plot??"

    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.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yolkut Bronx, NY, United States 09-20-11
    Yolkut Bronx, NY, United States 09-20-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Creative and Fascinating"

    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.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazoniac USA 06-30-14
    Amazoniac USA 06-30-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Can somebody help me out with this?"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carla WESTERN SPRINGS, IL, United States 12-12-11
    Carla WESTERN SPRINGS, IL, United States 12-12-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Imaginative, compelling"

    A unique tale almost deceptively simple in its telling. This was a terrific book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Marina del Rey, CA, United States 11-30-12
    Elizabeth Marina del Rey, CA, United States 11-30-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pretty Good"

    I enjoyed the story but it didn't encompass me. The performance was great. I would consider reading another book by this author.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jak philly pa 08-07-12
    jak philly pa 08-07-12 Member Since 2011

    jernmegmom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting"
    If you could sum up The Leftovers in three words, what would they be?

    Very good story. Great concept.


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed the whole thing but I deducted one star because I found the ending lacking

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim TEMECULA, CA, United States 05-20-14
    Tim TEMECULA, CA, United States 05-20-14 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Plot Optional"

    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.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Morriss 05-22-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Expected to like it more"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not really. Felt pointless.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Given more depth to the characters. Just all felt meaningless. Maybe that was what the author was going for.


    Have you listened to any of Dennis Boutsikaris’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    I heard it may be an HBO series, why I read it. Hope that story will be better.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H Tampa, FL, USA 08-15-14
    H Tampa, FL, USA 08-15-14 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wanting to be wowed"
    What would have made The Leftovers better?

    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.


    What was most disappointing about Tom Perrotta’s story?

    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.


    What about Dennis Boutsikaris’s performance did you like?

    He did very well with poor material.


    What character would you cut from The Leftovers?

    Very hard to choose. I didn't feel connected to any of them.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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