Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Leftovers (Tom Perrotta)

Tom Perrotta is the king of novels about suburbia. He is probably best known for Election, on which the movie starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon was based. In The Leftovers, Perrotta brings us yet another experience in suburbia, this time of the biblical variety.

People are going about their business on an ordinary day. Suddenly, many people just disappear in what most believe was the Rapture. However, the people who were "chosen" are not the people you would think. The Leftovers is the story of the people who stayed behind. Nora went into the kitchen during dinner and came back to find her entire family had gone. Kevin, Laurie, Jill, and Tom survived with their family intact but completely ruptured. Laurie goes with her friend, who lost her daughter, to join a cult. Tom begins to follow a brainwasher. Kevin and Jill just try to live their day-to-day lives together knowing that they are irreparably changed.

While I was writing this, I know that the premise sounds very hokey. In lesser hands, I would be scared to read a novel like this. However, Perrotta has proven time and time again that he is the master of small-town life. He places a super-human event like the Rapture into suburban life and makes his characters meticulously pick up the pieces.