It’s Monday again, and it seems like the best possible day of the week to discuss The Leftovers by Tom Perotta. It’s not exactly a happy-go-lucky book and Monday is basically the opposite of a happy-go-lucky day, so it makes sense. What makes less sense is taking The Leftovers on vacation as a poolside read, but I’ve never been one to make perfect decisions.
The Leftovers takes place 3 years after the Rapture. Or what some people assume to have been the Rapture. Basically, millions of people just vanished into thin air with absolutely no scientific explanation. Friends, family members, neighbors, strangers, enemies, your weird checkout clerk from the supermarket just POOF. Gone. Because humanity is extraordinarily bad at dealing with this sort of uncertainty, a lot of weird reactionary crap starts to happen. The people who disappeared seemingly had no connection. They were just PEOPLE- good, bad, religious, atheist, kind, rude- whatever. The fact that it was clearly not *just* the righteous and that so many apparently God-fearing folk were left behind threw a major wrench into the traditional religious communities. A whole new crop of religions cropped up, mostly of the cult-ish variety. The Garvey family of Mapleton has imploded in the aftermath of the Sudden Departure despite all members remaining on their current astral plane, and through them we’re able to view all sorts of aspects of this strange new world.
I found the premise of The Leftovers utterly fascinating. I’ve often wondered about how thin the fabric of society is and just what it would take for things to unravel. I mean, say aliens landed tomorrow just to say “hey.” How would the world’s major religions handle the certain knowledge that humanity was not alone in the universe? Talk about your major upheaval, right? The concept of the book was so appealing that I think I expected too much out of it. I was frustrated at what I felt was a lack of resolution and complete lack of explanation as to what actually happened. I’m sure those were intentional artistic choices, but dangit, I like having answers and it drove me a little batty! Still, I think The Leftovers is definitely worth a read.
Talk to me Bookworms! What do YOU think would happen if millions of people suddenly and mysteriously disappeared? (I’d blame the aliens, but that’s just me…)
*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I’m going to invest in aluminum foil to make myself a jaunty anti-alien hat.*