Friday, December 14, 2012
Review: The Leftovers
The Leftovers starts with this premise: what would people do if a rapture-like event happened? And what would happen if it didn't look like what anyone expected? Would you rename it, as the people in this novel do, the Sudden Departure?
When I talked to a friend of mine about this, she said she would set up a huge database to run the information on all of the people who had disappeared to find out what they had in common. Which makes sense. And perhaps somewhere in some government office in this alternate world, someone is doing this. But that is not this novel.
This is not a plot-driven book; it's character-driven -- something that rarely works for me any more unless I am really intrigued by the people, as I am here. And I'm not sure why they are so interesting to me, except that the author allows their confusion to shine through in different ways. The book focuses on one family: mother, father, two kids (one starting college, one starting high school) and how they respond. There's another woman who gets a spotlight, whose husband and two children both disappeared. I liked them all. I sympathized with them all.
I can see how this book might frustrate you if you're looking for answers. What's in that database? What really happened? But I think one of the points of this book is, there is no common denominator why one person is taken and another stays; sometimes you will never know why things happen. And isn't that life as well? Why does one person get cancer and another doesn't? Why is one person in a car accident and not another? You can find some commonalities, but you just can't get it all nailed down, settled, and answered. Live your life as best you can, but it's not about whether or not you will be rewarded. And be kind to one another; you do not know what they have seen or experienced.