The Leftovers

Title: The Leftovers
Writers : Tom Perrotta
Published: 2011
Genre: Fiction
My Rating: 3 on 5

This book garnered a lot of attention after it was nominated as Notable Book for 2011 by New York Times. Not to say the cover art is so enchanting, I kept staring at before I would dig into the book.

The Leftovers refers to the people left behind on this earth when one fine day, all of a sudden, some people disappear in what is termed as ‘The Sudden Departure’. Amongst the leftovers, some believe this is an act of God where he chose the people who believed in him and took them to a better world, leaving the sinful souls behind to suffer and rot. Some dismiss it to say this was not about Christianity and try to find answers to the riddle.

There is a void, an unfilled gap in the lives of the leftovers and they struggle to accept the void and come to terms with their new life without their loved ones around. A middle aged woman loses her husband and her kids in the Sudden Departure and finds it difficult to move on in her life and finds herself hoping that they might turn up one day, just like how they disappeared.

The book starts with a bang and draws you in instantaneously. The basic concept of the Departure is so intriguing, you want to read on to see what the author does with this brilliant idea. The concept of G.R.  (a group of leftovers who give up speech and maintain silence in an attempt to say there is something wrong with the world and the people that are left behind) is another idea which makes you ponder. Sadly, the book fails to keep up the intriguing factor and loses momentum and after a point of time, it becomes yet another book of the dull lives of people, middle-age crisis and extra marital affairs. The characters who evoked sympathy and dread in you in the initial part, fail to touch your heart in the latter half. Laura’s character comes across as such a strong one as a woman who does not lose any immediate family member, but sees her friend lose her daughter, but the character is not used well in the second half.

The writing is beautiful and the characters are interesting, but this applies only to the first half of the book. Somewhere down the line, the author fumbles to make his point and tell his story.

If you are looking for an answer to the riddle of where the people went, then you will not find that in the book. That is not the point of this book anyway. It is a decent read overall, but I was disappointed with how the author treated his idea.

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