For my science fiction novel I chose a book about a random disappearance of a large population of people, where we follow to results of the ones left behind. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta.
The concept is interesting for sure, what actually happened to this people? Where did they go and why were there so many left behind.
Right away the book leads into a religious ideology of the rapture. That it happened and no one even knew it happened. About half way through I realized this wasn’t really science fiction but more theological and psychological; however there never really is an answer to the question, “where did they go?” So I’m holding out hope it was aliens.
The first thing I will say about his book is that it has an interesting concept, I was drawn to the back cover implications for sure. After about halfway through I started to struggle with the novel because the writing style and story line was a bit of a let down. I found Perrotta’s writing slow and not in a nice methodic way, but in a drawn out unnecessary, let’s get to the point kind of way. To be honest if you just read the book at face value, and only followed the action of characters… nothing happens. Everything redeemable is written in the contexts in which people are affected and in their reactions to tragic world event.
For example the reaction of religious sects pop in up all over is so accurate to a plausible outcome it’s frightening. People turning to those sects as a source of redemption or to find personal understanding was really insightful. The actions that take place in are a little lacking and the one exciting bit at the very end in relation to one of these sects is glossed over! (For anyone who’s read it I’m referring to the Guilty Remnants martyrs).
The one thing that really kept me reading was a personal theory I developed at the beginning of the novel, and I was hoping to make true and I feel as if there is a bit of truth to it; My theory is that “godly” people weren’t taken by the rapture but inherently “bad” people. At first the novel gives the impression that the people taken were so beloved. Then as individual stories arise, it appears that the ones taken weren’t really the greatest. And it’s especially alluded when a priest starts a crusade exposing the ones who were taken as sinners.
Like I said interesting concept, bad execution. The author touched on some great points but I feel he just missed out on a potentially amazing story. There should have been aliens, especially with all the religious cults! That would have been an amazing end, everyone just getting into their religions things are heated, “the rapture”, this and “the rapture” that… then BAM! Aliens descend and beam up Scotty who’s taken a turn for the worst since the original rapture. Then everyone is standing around looking stunned and the Guilty Remnant all break their vow of silence at the same time. THE END.
So there you have it, I wouldn’t recommend this book really it was kind of disappointing. If you like reading between the lines or if you want a good book club insight conversation then this can be a good option. If you have a different opinion feel free to leave a comment below!