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The Leftovers [Kindle Edition]

Tom Perrotta
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (279 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $7.00 (47%)
Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011
A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book for 2011
A USA Today 10 Books We Loved Reading in 2011 Title
One of NPR’s 10 Best Novels of 2011
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.

Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2011: Author Tom Perrotta is a master at exposing the quiet desperation behind America’s suburban sheen. In The Leftovers he explores what would happen if The Rapture actually took place and millions of people just disappeared from the earth. How would normal people respond? Perrotta’s characters show a variety of coping techniques, including indifference, avoidance, depression, freaking out, and the joining of cults. Despite the exceptional circumstances, it’s really not unlike how people respond to more minor incidents in their lives (excepting cults). The result is a novel that’s a slow burn yet strangely compelling, one that leaves the reader pondering the story long after it’s over. In vivid and occasionally satiric prose, he takes a bizarre and abnormal event--the Rapture--and imagines how normal people would deal with being left behind. --Chris Schluep


Praise for the audiobook edition of THE LEFTOVERS:

“Dennis Boutsikaris is the ideal audio jack-of-all trades for Perrotta’s darkly comic novel of American life after the rapture. Boutsikaris captures the tender longing of Perrotta’s prose as it harks back to a lost happiness now entirely destroyed by the unexplained disappearance of millions of people, both believers and nonbelievers. Utilizing the mellow timbre of his voice and effective moments of silence, Boutsikaris highlights the disconnection and dissatisfaction at the heart of Perrotta’s novel. Proving to be a superb narrator for Perrotta’s work, Boutsikaris’s quiet excellence is akin to that of the author.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Dennis Boutsikaris executes this production with a matter-of-fact tone that works to emphasize the surrealism that permeates Perrotta’s novel…Boutsikaris does well providing a straight vocal rendering of the details of Perrotta’s world while amply delivering emotional resonance and energy when portraying the characters’ states of mind. He keeps his voices and tones straight despite the shifting of perspective from chapter to chapter.” – AudioFile Magazine

“It’s quite an imaginative tale, and rather deep, with bits of lightness thrown in for good measure. Good for those who don’t mind a trip to the dark side.” – The Mercury

“A bonus interview with the author enhances this dramatic and enthralling story. Highly recommended.” – The Midwest Book Review

“The great character actor, Dennis Boutsikaris, shows his skill once again in reading this novel, complementing the narrative…I enjoyed The Leftovers in the overall experience it delivers, but I especially appreciated the unique, imaginative, and human perspectives that Perrotta created for out listening/reading pleasure.” – New World Review

“Perrotta makes this subdued world come vividly alive, and the reading by actor Dennis Boutsikaris has just the right tone.” –The Winston-Salem Journal

“A balanced presentation of this story of those left behind after the biblical Rapture – or something closely resembling it – takes place.” – The Los Angeles Times

Praise for the print edition of THE LEFTOVERS:

"The Leftovers is, simply put, the best Twilight Zone episode you never saw."--Stephen King, New York Times Book Review
"[Perrotta's] most mature, absorbing novel, one that confirms his development from a funnyman to a daring chronicler of our most profound anxieties and human desires...Leavened with humor and tinged with creepiness, this insightful novel draws us into some very dark corners of the human psyche."--Washington Post

"[Perrotta's] most ambitious book to date....The premise is as simple as it is startling (certainly for the characters involved). The novel is filled with those who have changed their lives radically or discovered something crucial about themselves, as radical upheaval generates a variety of coping mechanisms. Though the tone is more comic than tragic, it is mainly empathic, never drawing a distinction between "good" and "bad" characters, but recognizing all as merely human—ordinary people dealing with an extraordinary situation." — Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Ever since Little Children, Tom Perrotta has been a master chronicler of suburban ennui, but he takes things to a new level with his wry, insightful, unputdownable novel The Leftovers...Profoundly entertaining...The Leftovers brims with joy, hilarity, tenderness and hope."--Marie Claire
"An engrossing read."--People
The Leftovers is sort of an “Our Town” for End Times. Tom Perrotta, our Balzac of the burbs, has come up with a wild premise for his engaging, entertaining new novel. Suddenly, a huge number of people vanish from this earth. The only explanation is that The Rapture has occurred…He narrows his affectionate and gently satiric focus to the middle-American village of Mapleton and shows us a bunch of folks trying to get on with their lives…The novel intertwines these stories at a graceful pace in prose so affable that the pages keep turning without hesitation. With Perrotta at the controls, you buy the set-up and sit back as he takes off.”--Chicago Sun Times

“Perrotta combines absurd circumstance and authentic characters to wondrous effect, turning his story into a vivid exploration of what we believe, what matters most, and how, if untethered, we move on…Perrotta treats his characters with sympathy and invites the reader to do the same.”--Seattle Times

“In his provocative new novel Tom Perrotta dives straight into our unease…it’s a gentle, Perrotta-esque go at sci-fi, without any mangled bodies or bombed-out buildings; it’s a realistic novel built on a supernatural foundation.”--Boston Globe

“Perrotta’s gift is his ability to infuse satire with warmth, to find significance in the absurd. It’s easy to mock extreme forms of religious expression. It’s harder to find their meaning and application. Perrotta does both in this rich and oddly reassuring read.”--More Magazine

"The best book about the Rapture since the New Testament."--"The Bullseye" in Entertainment Weekly
"Start with what the author calls a Rapture-like phenomenon, mix in some suburban angst, and poof: All other apocalyptic fiction gets blown away."--O, The Oprah Magazine (selected as one of the Best Fiction titles of 2011)

Product Details

  • File Size: 502 KB
  • Print Length: 366 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312358342
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reprint edition (August 30, 2011)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TLH3L0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,472 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
163 of 182 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Departures. July 26, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My only experience with Perrotta prior to this was two movies - Little Children, which I liked, and Election which I didn't. (EDIT: Re-watched Election, liked it much better the 2nd time.) His books definitely seem like something up my alley, but I'd never been compelled to pick one up.

This one sounded ideal for me. I love the different portrayals authors make of those "left behind" or in this case, "Leftover."

The prologue, for me, was genius. Absolutely hilarious. I thought it was setting the stage for what was going to be an uproarious social satire. It was not. Though there were moments of humor beyond the start, they were few and far between. What I found most about this book was that it was subtle.

For a long while it felt to me like "The Stepford Wives: The Rapture Years". I'm not a plot point type of reviewer, so this is nothing that you can't read on the jacket copy. There was an event, and a lot people disappeared from the planet. But this isn't some kind of 12 Monkey's type world. It's about normal people, with cell phones and jobs, coming to terms with what happened, and moving on with their lives. The aftermath of the aftermath if you will.

I was feeling really critical of the book because for a long time it felt so emotionless. Some people lost entire families, yet there was no grief. I didn't feel connected to anybody, and the back of the book said "a colorful cast of characters" and I just wasn't getting it, at all (with one minor exception.)

And then it sort of transcended and all came together. And what felt subtle and emotionless as I was going through it, left me feeling ultimately as though I'd been on an emotional journey the whole time.
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76 of 92 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Perrotta, but worth a look August 3, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Tom Perrotta has the gift of a signature style. I could read his sentences, spare, ironic, laced with a bit of light humor, for forever. In a way, he's the John Cheever of this generation, charting without rancor the paths of today's suburban Wasps. His novels are a bit uneven in depth and execution, but they are always worth reading. In The Leftovers, Perrotta starts with the premise that a Rapture-like event has taken to heaven a spotty sampling of the world's population, the good, the bad, the Christian, the Moslem, the Hindu, the Jew, and the heathens. The novel is about the ones left over on Earth - in particular those in an American suburb - and how they cope with both the loss of their loved ones and the fact that they have been left behind.

In a very real sense, this premise is a bit of an ironic joke or at least Perrotta treats it that way. I think that's the flaw in this novel. The narrative voice is a bit smirky and that leads to a fundamental conflict between the very tragic situation of the characters and the "oh-come-on-now" narration. It's hard to become invested in the characters' lives when the narrator holds back emotionally. Then there is the problem of the cliche turns of plot. Key characters join religious cults that have popped up after the demi-Rapture. A teen age girl becomes surly and hooks up with the wrong crowd in high school. The main character in this book - a jock male turned responsible adult - is a bit of a block of wood emotionally, which leads to further distancing on the part of the reader.

I think every professional novelist ought to try their hand at an apocalyptic/dystopic novel. This book reminds me of another interesting, but ultimately unsuccessful attempt that uses an end of the world premise, Malamud's God's Grace. Like Malamud, Perrotta is a very talented writer. Unlike Malamud after God's Grace, Perrotta has many years left to write. My guess is that his next book will be far better.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph for Tom Perrotta August 18, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was extremely excited to be able to get a copy of "The Leftovers" from the Vine program. I am very much a fan of Tom Perrotta and thought "Little Children" was little short of a masterpiece. I am also a tremendous fan of "dystopian" fiction. And I was particularly intrigued to see how these two things would come together in one book, as they seemed almost antithetical, given Perrotta's mastery of the realistic. Interestingly, they came together like a hand in a glove, as Perrotta uses the premise of a Rapture-like event to illuminate human behavior in ordinary circumstances. In many cases, one can see several of the characters in "The Leftovers" being in much the same place they are in this novel had the key event never occurred. Nevertheless, the Rapture-like event never feels like a gimmick.

Unlike other Tom Perrotta novels, "The Leftovers" is not a particularly plot-driven book. That being said, the last half of the novel was as much of a "page-turner" as the riveting "Little Children." I was eager to see where the characters and the book were going. While the novel ends without any sort of tying up of loose ends, it did feel -- for the most part -- as though it ended as it should and provided as much "closure" as was appropriate for this story. But Perrotta could just as easily have kept the book going without losing the momentum he had developed. I say that the novel felt properly concluded "for the most part" because there is one plot line that seems to have been cut short and left inexplicable. In all other respects, any "loose ends" are merely those that occur in real life as life goes on.

"The Leftovers" is written in Perrotta's typical direct style, with lean but often evocative prose. And it is not without its fair share of humor, as well. I recommend the novel highly to any fan of Tom Perrotta and to any fan of good, contemporary fiction.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Does not live up to the story jacket hype.
Easy enjoyable read but lacks enough depth to actually stimulate a real consideration of the topic. Maybe it was just intended as light reading.
Published 9 days ago by Mark H.
5.0 out of 5 stars I rarely write reviews
I see what you did here. In one fell swoop, the author gave the world a case of PTSD and an insight into how it absolutely -amazon edit- up everyone that was left. Read more
Published 16 days ago by G. Brothers
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked the book, quick read and entertaining but unresolved
Although this book was a quick read and was entertaining, I felt that the story sort of fizzled out in the middle. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Tracey di paolo
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick, fun read
The Leftovers puts a new twist on 'end of the world' and 'rapture' themes. Quite a few characters to follow, some disappointing, some not what you expect. A fun read.
Published 1 month ago by Janet Lineberry
5.0 out of 5 stars Provoking
The first time I read this book I found it compelling but was a little let down at the end (like some of the negative reviewers). Read more
Published 1 month ago by Susan Masterton
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story..
Liked the characters and the idea of the whole plot. Found it a little hard to talk about at book club. Not sure if I'd read the author again right away.
Published 1 month ago by Kirsten M. Davis
1.0 out of 5 stars What happened???
I was extremely disappointed in ending. Lots unexplained. I assume there will be a sequel, but I won't be following it. Sorry!
Published 2 months ago by Joedy Kimball
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting concept, well done...
what i'd like to say here is that i read this book and then bought six more(i think that might be all that he wrote so far?) of perrotta's books... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Isaac Mizrahi
3.0 out of 5 stars Leftovers
Had a good premise and some really good parts, however I kind of felt like the story really went nowhere
Published 2 months ago by Moxy
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written with excellent character develoment
Perrotta always paints a clear picture with his characters. In the leftovers he depicts a small town in the aftermath of what looks like rapture. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Oscar Martin Jonas
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