Friday, December 30, 2011
"Hal Lindsey has called this unique event 'The Great Snatch.'" (from: raptureready.com)
"The two most moving scenes in Tom Perrotta's sixth novel, The Leftovers, come late in the book. In the first, Kevin Garvey — abandoned husband, distracted father, mayor of the affluent suburb of Mapleton — tells a woman he's been dating that he's just heard from his college-age son for the first time in months. 'Were you close?' she asks, herself a bit distracted. 'He was my little boy, I was always so proud of him,' Kevin answers and bursts into tears. A few pages later, Perrotta elaborates: 'It was the phrase little boy that had done it, the sudden memory of an easy weight on his shoulders, Tom perched up there like a king on a throne, gazing down upon the world, one delicate hand resting on top of his father's head, the heels of his Velcro-fastened sneakers knocking softly against Kevin's chest as they walked.'
In the second, Kevin's companion, 'a pretty but fragile-looking woman named Nora Durst,' writes a letter detailing how her family (husband Doug, 6-year-old son Jeremy, 4-year-old daughter Erin) disappeared.
What makes these moments resonate is the role of disappearance in The Leftovers, which unfolds in the wake of an event very much like the Christian belief in the Rapture and revolves around those left behind. That this Rapture — the simultaneous evaporation of millions of people — appears to have nothing to do with faith or goodness only adds another layer of uncertainty to the world Perrotta describes. 'As far as anyone could tell,' he writes, 'it was a random harvest, and the one thing the Rapture couldn't be was random. … An indiscriminate Rapture was no Rapture at all.'
The idea of a Rapture that may not be the Rapture is vintage Perrotta; he's a satirist who likes to poke fun at the vagaries of contemporary life. His best-known efforts, Election and Little Children, take a jaundiced look at high school hierarchies and the quiet desperation of suburban parenthood, respectively, but if The Leftovers has an antecedent, it may be his 2007 novel The Abstinence Teacher, in which a high school sex-ed instructor comes up against evangelicals."
— David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times
For more information about the Rapture, go here...
You can purchase books by Tom Perrotta (and Hal Lindsey) here...