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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Story

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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.

68 of 71 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Yolkut
  • Bronx, NY, United States
  • 09-20-11

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.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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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.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Barking up the wrong tree

Any additional comments?

I was fascinated and enthralled by the HBO series “The Leftovers.” The show is dark, cerebral, and deals with penultimate questions of life after death. When the 2014 season ended without total closure, I raced to the novel to have all my questions answered. However, the novel is superficial and intellectually disappointing aside the HBO series. The Leftovers novel provides only the basic outline which is expertly filled by the created of the television show “Lost” (Damon Lindelof). There is little to be gained in the novel for fans of the HBO series.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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

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  • Tim
  • San Diego, CA
  • 05-20-14

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.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Loved the tv show...

I think the Leftovers is one of the greatest shows ever to grace the small screen. After watching the first two seasons, I had to give the book a shot. I wasn't looking for the book to follow the show 100%, which it doesn't. I wanted to find some of the strangeness in a written form and sink into a universe that left me questioning reality.

The book is hard to follow. It leaps from one character to the next and as many people have said, it has little in the way of plot to drag you from chapter to chapter. The writing is good. The ideas though are a crude rendering of what was further developed in the show. The book feels muddy.

I can't help but judge this book against what it became. Its a pale comparison.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Mundane

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful