The Leftovers: A Novel

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A New York Times Notable Book for 2011
A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book for 2011
A USA Today 10 Books We Loved Reading in 2011 Title
One of NPR's 10 Best Novels of 2011

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.

With heart, intelligence and a rare ability to illuminate the struggles inherent in ordinary lives, Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers is a startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss.

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In this New York Times bestselling novel, Tom Perrotta, whom Time calls “the Steinbeck of suburbia,” delivers a penetrating and hilarious novel about sex, love, and identity on the frontlines of America’s culture wars.

Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when she gets a text message from an anonymous number: “U R my MILF!” Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night, Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called MILFateria.com, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence.

Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night.

“Tom Perrotta is a truth-telling, unshowy chronicler of modern-day America” (The New York Times Book Review). Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a gentle but piercing satire from “the Jane Austen of 21st century sexual mores” (New York Newsday) about the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.
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Additional Information

Publisher
St. Martin's Press
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Published on
Aug 30, 2011
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781429989138
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A New York Times Notable Book of 2011
A Publisher's Weekly Top 10 Book of 2011
A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Best Fiction of 2011 Title
One of Library Journal's Best Books of 2011
A Salon Best Fiction of 2011 title
One of The Telegraph's Best Fiction Books of the Year 2011

It's the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.

As Madeleine tries to understand why "it became laughable to read writers like Cheever and Updike, who wrote about the suburbia Madeleine and most of her friends had grown up in, in favor of reading the Marquis de Sade, who wrote about deflowering virgins in eighteenth-century France," real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead—charismatic loner, college Darwinist, and lost Portland boy—suddenly turns up in a semiotics seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old "friend" Mitchell Grammaticus—who's been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange—resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.

Over the next year, as the members of the triangle in this amazing, spellbinding novel graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they learned in school. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology Laboratory on Cape Cod, but can't escape the secret responsible for Leonard's seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love.

Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives.

In this New York Times bestselling novel, Tom Perrotta, whom Time calls “the Steinbeck of suburbia,” delivers a penetrating and hilarious novel about sex, love, and identity on the frontlines of America’s culture wars.

Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when she gets a text message from an anonymous number: “U R my MILF!” Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night, Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called MILFateria.com, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence.

Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night.

“Tom Perrotta is a truth-telling, unshowy chronicler of modern-day America” (The New York Times Book Review). Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a gentle but piercing satire from “the Jane Austen of 21st century sexual mores” (New York Newsday) about the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.
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