Last ones standing

Tom Perrotta has a knack for writing books that seem breezy—and are easy-to-read—but that tackle very serious subjects: infidelity and shame (Little Children), sex education and right-wing religious political muscle (The Abstinence Teacher), and now the Rapture. The Leftovers tells us about the actual event only through flashbacks; the novel begins three years after the “disappearing to be with Jesus” is done. But it wasn’t what anyone expected; “bad” people went, along with kids and so-called “holy” people in a democratization that left some people behind who expected to be taken. Perrotta focuses on the reactions of the Garvey family: mayor dad Kevin, mother-turned-guilt-cultist Laurie, son-turned-happy-cultist Tom and daughter Jill, who shaved her head and started drinking. Being left behind is never what you think it will be, and their struggles to adjust to life after the “end” are engrossing and thought-provoking, not to mention being a swell antidote to typical post-Rapture fiction.