The Leftovers

Publisher: Vintage Canada

A startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss from the New York Times bestselling author of The Abstinence Teacher and Little Children.

What if the Rapture happened and you got left behind? Or what if it wasn't the Rapture at all, but something murkier, a burst of mysterious, apparently random disappearances that shattered the world in a single moment, dividing history into Before and After, leaving no one unscathed? How would you rebuild your life in the wake of such a devastating event?

This is the question confronting the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, a formerly comfortable suburban community that lost over a hundred people in the Sudden Departure. Kevin Garvey, the new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized neighbours, even as his own family falls apart. His wife, Laurie, has left him to enlist in the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence but haunt the streets of town as "living reminders" of God's judgment. His son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet by the name of 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 attraction to Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family in the tragedy, and is still reeling three years later, groping for a way to face the remainder of her life.

Through the prism of a single family, Perrotta illuminates a familiar America made strange by grief and apocalyptic anxiety. The Leftovers is a powerful and deeply moving book about people struggling to hold on to a belief in their own futures.

From the Hardcover edition.


It was a good day for a parade, sunny and unseasonably warm, the sky a Sunday school cartoon of heaven. Not too long ago, people would have felt the need to make a nervous crack about weather like this—Hey, they’d say, maybe this global warming isn’t such a bad thing after all!— but...
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A New York Times Notable Book

“Striking. . . . The Leftovers is, simply put, the best Twilight Zone episode you never saw. . . . Beautifully modulated narration. . . . His lines have a calm and unshowy clarity.”
Stephen King, The New York Times Book Review

“Tom Perrotta is incapable of writing a bad book; I’ve loved all his books so far. . . . Trust Perrotta to find very trenchant things to say about our cultural condition by means of this inventive premise. . . . Perrotta is one of our most underrated writers, and deserves the widest possible audience.”
—The Huffington Post

“His most ambitious book.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Praise for Tom Perrotta:
"He's the Steinbeck of suburbia."

"His brand of bracing, suburban fiction, domestic realism laced with biting satire, is a delight, with depths at which film can only hint. Writing with clear, subtle prose and winning emotional directness, Perrotta has been chronicling the American heart and soul, its follies and foibles, for almost a decade, without misstep."
The Globe and Mail

“An American Chekhov whose characters, even at their most ridiculous, seem blessed and ennobled by a luminous human aura.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“That rare combination: a satirist with heart.”
—The Seattle Times