Tom Perrotta: The Leftovers

More than a week later, I’m still not really sure what I think of The Leftovers. In some ways its upper middle class suburban lifestyle satire struck me as thematically similar to Little Children, with the addition of its major background plot element: it takes place after a Rapture-like event caused a significant fraction of the world’s populace to literally disappear.

It’s probably one of the most religion-hostile books I’ve read in a while. The need to explain the fundamentally inexplicable event drives the creation of at least two cults (or religions, depending on your perspective) and neither are portrayed very positively. (And both have superficial, perhaps coincidental, similarities to real-world religious organizations around which there is some controversy.

I found it hard to believe that Perrotta’s characters would make some of the choices that they make. The problematic choices, for me, don’t seem consistent with what the reader has learned of the character. Maybe that’s part of Perrotta’s larger point: exploring the boundary between the rational and the irrational, between faith and fanaticism.

I certainly found it thought-provoking, and it held my attention throughout.

needs more demons? In a literal sense, demons would be altogether too easy of course. But I’m really not sure.

Published by therealsummervillain

likes: equality, making things easier to use, biking, jangle, distortion, monogamy dislikes: bigotry, policies that jeopardize people, lack of transparency

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