Monday, June 25, 2012

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

I keep giving Tom Perotta one more chance - this time because one of my AP reader friends suggested I would enjoy The Leftovers.  I had avoided reading the book thus far because the premise - the recovery measures taken by a group of suburbanites left after various of their loved ones were mysteriously seized by a Rapture-type event - didn't seem appealing.  As I started the book, I thought it would be biting satire, but the people of Mapleton could be the people of any town, and Kevin Garvey, the town mayor, ends up struggling with typical and mundane stresses - a spouses' rejection, a teenager's rebellion, mid-life angst.  Parts of the plot are mildly humorous, especially the cult-like Guilty Remnants who take a vow of silence and wander the town eaves-dropping on their neighbors while smoking mandatory cigarettes.  But the book seemed so contrived by the end I was left with the vapors of a great story - a fictional smoke-trick.

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