Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta

I've enjoyed a few of Tom Perrotta's earlier novels - including Joe College, The Abstinence Teacher, and Little Children, so I was excited to check out his latest developed out of last year's hype surrounding The Rapture.  In Perrotta's world, The Rapture has actually taken place.  But instead of vanishing the most righteous, those taken appear to have been at random, causing those left behind to question everything they ever knew and believed.  Out of the confusion, a group emerges called the Guilty Remnant, a cult of survivors who have tasked themselves with ensuring that no one in their community ever forgets.  The novel focuses on Kevin Garvey, the town mayor, whose own wife has left him to join the Guilty Remnant.  His wayward son has run off with a charismatic prophet, and his once focused and promising daughter has started cutting school to hang out with a drug-using n'er-do-well.  Through Kevin's family, Perrotta explores the various reactions to this apocolyptic event and raises questions about the meaning of life and our place in it.  While clearly the story requires a suspension of disbelief, I actually didn't find it all too fanciful.  Perrotta managed to state the premise in a matter-of-fact way that didn't distract from the rest of the story, but still manged to inform the actions of the characters.  An enjoyable and thought-provoking read.

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