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The leftovers
Tom Perrotta
Adult Fiction PERROTT

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Perrotta (The Abstinence Teacher) gets seriously dystopian with his sixth novel when millions of people vanish into thin air one fine October day. Although the "Sudden Departure" resembles the Rapture, it was a secular event, leaving a hodgepodge of survivors with neither solace nor faith. Despite the fact that her family was left intact, suburban housewife Laurie Garvey feels compelled to leave her husband, the mayor of Mapleton, and their two teenage children, to join the Guilty Remnant, a cult that still believes the end of the world is nigh. G.R. members must obey three rules: remain silent, wear white, and smoke cigarettes. Perrotta wittily and economically establishes this intriguing premise, but then largely sidelines his sharp satiric eye in favor of a straightforward examination of loss and bewilderment. Laurie's motivations are frustratingly vague: "She had joined the G.R. because... she had no choice." The senseless, sometimes absurd mission of the cult mirrors the gaping hole blown into modern morality, as hapless survivors trudge about, failing to connect in meaningful ways. Laurie's daughter, Jill, is morally adrift, and her son, Tom, comes under the sway of a charlatan religious healer, until suffering a cruel disillusionment. Though all the ennui is surely the point, the end of the world isn't much fun. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

October 14 looked like any other day in the leafy New England enclave of Mapleton-until it didn't. Eighty-seven townspeople and millions more around the world simply disappeared. Cars careened with no one behind the wheel, school kids were without teachers, food went uneaten on dinner tables, and lovers found themselves abandoned. The Rapture? No one knows. What we do know is that the psychological trauma for those left behind is overwhelming, and who better than Perrotta, known for his ability to zero in on the vicissitudes of middle-class America (Little Children; The Abstinence Teacher) to grapple with the impact? Three years after "The Sudden Departure," Kevin Garvey's wife has joined a cult, son Tom has ditched college to follow guru Holy Wayne, and lovely daughter Jill has shaved her head and taken up with stoners. Nora Durst's life is in a holding pattern as she awaits the return of her husband and child, while Reverend Jamison, enraged at being passed over, publishes a newsletter exposing the failings of the missing. -VERDICT Perrotta has taken a subject that could easily slip into slapstick and imbued it with gravitas. Like Richard Russo, he softens the sting of satire with deep compassion for his characters in all their confusion, guilt, grief, and humanity. [See Prepub Alert, 2/21/11.]-Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Myers, FL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Kevin Garvey
Over a hundred people in his small community just disappeared; trying to bring a sense of renewed hope to his remaining bewildered citizens; his wife left him to join a cult; his son dropped out of college to follow a prophet.

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