Grief. It’s possible that Tom Perrotta’s novel, The Leftovers, has created a new genre: the post-apocalyptic comic novel. Perrotta’s action follows an event not quite like the rapture from the Left Behind series in a religious sense, but like it in that that some people have vanished, and others are still around. Families now have missing members, and characters are grieving their losses. While there’s plenty of Perrotta’s fine humor on these pages, there’s a poignancy as well as he allows the characters to grieve and carries readers along with them in a state of disbelief and confusion. One example of that humor was that followers of a certain cult were required to smoke cigarettes. An example of the poignancy was the gift of a cigarette lighter from the daughter of a cult member to her mother, who had been a nonsmoker before joining the cult. The daughter missed her mother who moved out of the house to be with the cult, and the gift was perfect. Unknown to the daughter, the mother used it once and had to throw it away because the cult didn’t keep possessions. Perrotta’s writing is terrific, and most readers will find this to be an enjoyable reading experience.
Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)
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