Two percent doesn’t seem like much, unless it describes the number of people who inexplicably disappear from earth one day. The official name is the Sudden Departure, but what was it? An apocalypse? The Rapture? In The Leftovers, the stunned citizens of Mapleton, New York are left behind to float and struggle as they adjust to a new emptiness.
To restore order, citizen Kevin Garvey becomes Mapleton’s mayor. As he tries to help the town move on with their lives, others, including his wife Laurie, join a cult, the Guilty Remnant. Their vow of silence, chain-smoking and passive aggression unnerve the rest of the town. In a small town defined by normalcy, all comforts go out the window and Kevin’s college age son and teenage daughter veer wildly off course.
One of the most interesting characters is Nora Durst, whose entire family vanishes while she is in another room. She suffers to understand and to move forward, just as the others, but I think her pain is the most tangible of all the characters.
Without spoiling the story, some of you may not like the open ending. I like it because it allows me to imagine what the characters will do. I also think it ends in a hopeful and positive way.
This is a very original story, and good for a book club because it is both heavy and light with plenty of discussion points.
If you want more Leftovers, check out the HBO series of the same name created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta. Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Liv Tyler star in this creepy dystopian drama. I’m in the middle of a very satisfying binge watch and can’t wait to see what happens next! Lindelof and Perrotta develop strong characters in Season 1 who fall into their own in Season 2. The series is full of strange surprises and anything is possible at the slightest turn. But be warned, if you watch it right before bed, prepare yourself for some strange dreams!
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