Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

The Leftovers is the first Tom Perrotta book I've tried. I saw it on the New table at the bookstore and heard good things, so when I came up in on the library's Overdrive, I had to give it a listen.

Genre: apocalyptic science fiction
Length: 10h 18m
Audio Publisher: Macmillan Audio, 2011

Recap: On October 14, thousands of people just disappear. No one knows where they went or why. The Leftovers follows one family who remains. Along with a few of their neighbors, they try to make sense of the world and what happened.

Review: The Leftovers is human drama with a sci fi set-up, and its strength is its characters. They are immensely believable, each with their quirks and coping strategies. The point-of-view changes from character to character, and this change in perspective makes up for a lack of action. For a book about grief and coping, it's pretty funny. I especially liked the cults that sprang up after the Disappearance, how each is distinct yet credible.

Reading/Production: I was surprised this book was read by a man since 3 of the 5 POV characters are women. Dennis Boutsikaris washed my fears away with his excellent reading. He gives the narrator just the right touch of snark and really seemed to be enjoying himself.

I loved the music that played at the beginning of the recording but was glad it wasn't repeated. There was a short author's interview at the end of the recording that was a little fuzzy.

Final Thoughts:  I liked this sci-fi story of the suburbs. It is well-written with interesting characters who act like real people in the face of unreal events.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

For: People who like family dramas who want to stick a toe into sci fi.

Eating habits: I'm starting to keep track of books where vegetarianism is brought up. This one had a vegetarian character and a vegan restaurant.

Num: It was funny that so few of the characters had jobs since there would be a lot of vacancies.

Nit: The one part that didn't ring true was the substantial survivor's benefit provided by the government. With this large of a pool of people who vanished, the pay-out would have to be relatively small. But maybe the number of people who disappeared in the US wasn't that large. I don't think a number was provided. It seemed like thousands.


  1. I enjoyed this one as well. I was surprised that some other audiobook bloggers didn't like the narration, so I was happy to find someone else who did.

    I see you're listening to The Lies of Locke Lamora. I loved the book, will be interested to see how well it does as an audiobook.

  2. I agree. I felt the reader did a good job with this one. I'd like to listen to him again.

    I'm having a really hard time with Locke. The jumping around in time, not knowing what's going on is hard in audio. There are a lot of accents. The same character with a different accent when he's on a job makes them tough to keep straight. And I don't feel as if I know anyone. All of the characters are kept at a distance to work on their scams. I'm only on hour 6 of 22 so it's slow going. I've only heard good things, so I think this one would work better in paper form.