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Extended Audio Sample The Leftovers: A Novel Audiobook, by Tom Perrotta Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (13,510 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tom Perrotta Narrator: Dennis Boutsikaris Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2011 ISBN: 9781427213235
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What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished?  Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened—not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children. 

Kevin Garvey, Mapleton’s new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin’s own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne.  Only Kevin’s teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be.  Kevin wants to help her, but he’s distracted by his growing relationship with Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family on October 14th and is still reeling from the tragedy, even as she struggles to move beyond it and make a new start.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Dennis Boutsikaris is the ideal audio jack-of-all trades for Perrotta's darkly comic novel of American life after the rapture. Boutsikaris captures the tender longing of Perrotta's prose as it harks back to a lost happiness now entirely destroyed by the unexplained disappearance of millions of people, both believers and nonbelievers. Utilizing the mellow timbre of his voice and effective moments of silence, Boutsikaris highlights the disconnection and dissatisfaction at the heart of Perrotta's novel. Proving to be a superb narrator for Perrotta's work, Boutsikaris's quiet excellence is akin to that of the author. Publishers Weekly, starred review

  • Dennis Boutsikaris executes this production with a matter-of-fact tone that works to emphasize the surrealism that permeates Perrotta's novel…Boutsikaris does well providing a straight vocal rendering of the details of Perrotta's world while amply delivering emotional resonance and energy when portraying the characters' states of mind. He keeps his voices and tones straight despite the shifting of perspective from chapter to chapter. AudioFile Magazine
  • It's quite an imaginative tale, and rather deep, with bits of lightness thrown in for good measure. Good for those who don't mind a trip to the dark side. The Mercury
  • A bonus interview with the author enhances this dramatic and enthralling story. Highly recommended. The Midwest Book Review
  • The great character actor, Dennis Boutsikaris, shows his skill once again in reading this novel, complementing the narrative…I enjoyed The Leftovers in the overall experience it delivers, but I especially appreciated the unique, imaginative, and human perspectives that Perrotta created for out listening/reading pleasure. New World Review
  • Perrotta makes this subdued world come vividly alive, and the reading by actor Dennis Boutsikaris has just the right tone. The Winston-Salem Journal
  • A balanced presentation of this story of those left behind after the biblical Rapture – or something closely resembling it – takes place. The Los Angeles Times
  • The Leftovers is, simply put, the best Twilight Zone episode you never saw. Stephen King, New York Times Book Review
  • [Perrotta's] most mature, absorbing novel, one that confirms his development from a funnyman to a daring chronicler of our most profound anxieties and human desires...Leavened with humor and tinged with creepiness, this insightful novel draws us into some very dark corners of the human psyche. Washington Post
  • [Perrotta's] most ambitious book to date....The premise is as simple as it is startling (certainly for the characters involved). The novel is filled with those who have changed their lives radically or discovered something crucial about themselves, as radical upheaval generates a variety of coping mechanisms. Though the tone is more comic than tragic, it is mainly empathic, never drawing a distinction between "good" and "bad" characters, but recognizing all as merely human--ordinary people dealing with an extraordinary situation. Kirkus Reviews (starred)
  • “The Leftovers is, simply put, the best Twilight Zone episode you never saw.”

    Stephen King, New York Times Book Review

  • “[Perrotta’s] most ambitious book to date…The premise is as simple as it is startling (certainly for the characters involved). The novel is filled with those who have changed their lives radically or discovered something crucial about themselves, as radical upheaval generates a variety of coping mechanisms. Though the tone is more comic than tragic, it is mainly empathic, never drawing a distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters, but recognizing all as merely human—ordinary people dealing with an extraordinary situation.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Ever since Little Children, Tom Perrotta has been a master chronicler of suburban ennui, but he takes things to a new level with his wry, insightful, unputdownable novel The Leftovers…Profoundly entertaining…The Leftovers brims with joy, hilarity, tenderness, and hope.”

    Marie Claire

  • The Leftovers is sort of an Our Town for End Times. Tom Perrotta, our Balzac of the burbs, has come up with a wild premise for his engaging, entertaining new novel. Suddenly, a huge number of people vanish from this earth. The only explanation is that The Rapture has occurred…He narrows his affectionate and gently satiric focus to the middle-American village of Mapleton and shows us a bunch of folks trying to get on with their lives…The novel intertwines these stories at a graceful pace in prose so affable that the pages keep turning without hesitation. With Perrotta at the controls, you buy the set-up and sit back as he takes off.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “In his provocative new novel Tom Perrotta dives straight into our unease…It’s a gentle, Perrotta-esque go at sci-fi, without any mangled bodies or bombed-out buildings; it’s a realistic novel built on a supernatural foundation.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Perrotta combines absurd circumstance and authentic characters to wondrous effect, turning his story into a vivid exploration of what we believe, what matters most, and how, if untethered, we move on…Perrotta treats his characters with sympathy and invites the reader to do the same.”

    Seattle Times

  • “[Perrotta’s] most mature, absorbing novel, one that confirms his development from a funnyman to a daring chronicler of our most profound anxieties and human desires…Leavened with humor and tinged with creepiness, this insightful novel draws us into some very dark corners of the human psyche.”

    Washington Post

  • Ever since Little Children, Tom Perrotta has been a master chronicler of suburban ennui, but he takes things to a new level with his wry, insightful, unputdownable novel The Leftovers...Profoundly entertaining...The Leftovers brims with joy, hilarity, tenderness and hope. Marie Claire
  • An engrossing read. People
  • The Leftovers is sort of an "Our Town" for End Times. Tom Perrotta, our Balzac of the burbs, has come up with a wild premise for his engaging, entertaining new novel. Suddenly, a huge number of people vanish from this earth. The only explanation is that The Rapture has occurred…He narrows his affectionate and gently satiric focus to the middle-American village of Mapleton and shows us a bunch of folks trying to get on with their lives…The novel intertwines these stories at a graceful pace in prose so affable that the pages keep turning without hesitation. With Perrotta at the controls, you buy the set-up and sit back as he takes off. Chicago Sun Times
  • Perrotta combines absurd circumstance and authentic characters to wondrous effect, turning his story into a vivid exploration of what we believe, what matters most, and how, if untethered, we move on…Perrotta treats his characters with sympathy and invites the reader to do the same. Seattle Times
  • In his provocative new novel Tom Perrotta dives straight into our unease…it's a gentle, Perrotta-esque go at sci-fi, without any mangled bodies or bombed-out buildings; it's a realistic novel built on a supernatural foundation. Boston Globe
  • Perrotta's gift is his ability to infuse satire with warmth, to find significance in the absurd. It's easy to mock extreme forms of religious expression. It's harder to find their meaning and application. Perrotta does both in this rich and oddly reassuring read. More Magazine
  • The best book about the Rapture since the New Testament. "The Bullseye" in Entertainment Weekly
  • Start with what the author calls a Rapture-like phenomenon, mix in some suburban angst, and poof: All other apocalyptic fiction gets blown away. O, The Oprah Magazine (selected as one of the Best Fiction titles of 2011)

  • A 2011 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2011 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 Top 10 NPR Best Book for Fiction
  • Selected for the September 2011 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie | 2/12/2014

    " A novel about those who are left behind after "the rapture" Kevin and his wife Laurie and their children Jill and Tom are the lucky ones when the family is left intact. But thier lives still fall apart in the months after. Nora loses her husband and two children. Now left alone she has to find a way to recover. And there is the reverend who is so angry that he wasn't taken in "the rapture" that he digs up secrets on everyone who was taken so he can prove they weren't Godly, so it really wasn't "the rapture" but something else. Lots of wonderful topics for book groups to discuss. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin Lozon | 2/5/2014

    " Well written with surprising turns. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nikki Wood | 1/30/2014

    " Enjoyed this. Thanks Renee, for recommending! A bit odd, but also a nice way to get one thinking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawn | 1/21/2014

    " I would give this 3 1/2 stars. This is the second Tom Perrotta book I've read (also The Abstinence Teacher), and they both seemed to kind of just end. The characters are frustratingly self-destructive, but also sympathetic. This was a very interesting concept and, sadly, Perrotta is probably right on about how the world would react to such an event. [SPOILER!] I probably would have gone to four stars if he'd said how and why the people disappeared! I understand that wasn't the point of the story, but I still wanted to know. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rick Holter | 1/18/2014

    " Love the after-the-rapture concept, and Perrotta's one of the modern masters. Ultimately, it meanders around till you kind of forget where it's going. But still a really good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deena | 1/9/2014

    " The leftovers sounds like it would be a good book and I gave it 4 stars because the premise of the book is so interesting. However i think it falls short. the world the author creates after the "coming" is thought-provoking, a bit bizarre but rather believable that a similar form would take shape in such an event. However, some of the characters were unbelievable and even annoying. And I didn't like the non-ending ending. I wanted more of a conclusion/closure or climax but I guess that was the author's point. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becky | 12/31/2013

    " Interesting premise, really strong writing, but missing something "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelleaeaton | 12/27/2013

    " Excellent for people that love end of the world literature! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Evanofski | 11/24/2013

    " This will be a movie soon I'm sure, and I'll be glad to be the snobby person who says : "I read the book before the previews even came out and it was way better" "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kellie Uhrig | 11/21/2013

    " I really loved this book for about two-thirds of the way through. But then things kind of fell apart. (Spoiler alert) maybe I just wanted too much of a happy ending, but the ending just didn't even seem to make sense. It was so well-written, though, so not giving up on Tom Perrota. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leslie Angel | 11/3/2013

    " thought it would be satiric and edgy; wasn't really. Was readable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 9/8/2013

    " The author developed the characters decently. It was just "eh" over all. I never felt an urgent desire to pick up and read where I last left off. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maribel | 9/10/2012

    " It had so much promise-hated the ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie Schatz | 8/28/2012

    " I give it a 4 star rating because I have never read another book like it at all, and I wanted to read it every free chance I could get. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Livia | 8/27/2012

    " This was a more enjoyable read than I expected. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy Fimognari | 7/27/2012

    " Good idea but did not develop into much. Would have liked it more if it started when everyone disappeared not 3 years later. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Pam | 11/8/2011

    " This was a dissapointment. It started strong but lacked the ability to close. It had potential but never really came together. Dont waste your money on the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eli | 11/7/2011

    " I really loved this book and devoured it over a busy weekend. It is one that sticks with you. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Diana | 11/6/2011

    " This could have been so much better... Great premise but the story itself was pretty pedestrian. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 11/6/2011

    " Didn't love this story. I kept waiting for the character's threads to come together, but they never did in a satisfying way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maryellen | 11/5/2011

    " What if in the blink of an eye, numerous people around the world just disappeared? The Rapture? In the small town of Mapleton, the remainder of the citizens struggle to make sense of the event and deal with the aftermath in different ways. Perrotta has another hit with this engrossing read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebekah | 11/2/2011

    " I didn't really get this book at first, but then once I did get it, it was just sort of boring. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't anything particularly amazing, either. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 11/2/2011

    " Really charming - sweet and sad. "

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About the Author
Author Tom Perrotta

Tom Perrotta is the author of several previous work of fiction, including Bad Haircut, The Wishbones, Election, and the New York Times bestsellers Joe College and Little Children. Election was made into the acclaimed 1999 movie directed by Alexander. When Little Children was released as a movie in 2006, Perrotta received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for best screenplay. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

About the Narrator

Dennis Boutsikaris has won two Obie Awards, one for his performance in Sight Unseen, and played Mozart in Amadeus on Broadway. Among his films are W.Batteries Not Included, The Dream Team, and Boys on the Side. He is a recipient of both Audie and Earphones Awards and has read over 140 audiobooks.