by: Rumaan Alam
A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong
Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.
Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?
Suspenseful and provocative, Rumaan Alam’s third novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race, and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped—and unexpected new ones are forged—in moments of crisis.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓1/2
Maggie Miller (one of our devoted blog followers) suggested this book to me. She said it was “cleverly written” and that is a perfect description for it. The writing was fantastic and funny. It sucked you in on page one! It was refreshing to read something so contemporary and relatable (I, too, have moody teenage children and like to sneak occasional cigs when no one is watching!). My only criticism of this book was that (sadly 😕) it had a crappy ending. Fun fact: There is a Netflix movie in the works starring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington!
Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓1/2 (fluctuating between 2.5-4.0?)
If you want to be depressed for the rest of your life, by all means read this book. The author is a wonderful writer, but woe is me. A friend said “If a book stays with you long after you have read it, and it makes you think, then it was worth reading.” Stayed with me? ✔ Made me think? ✔ Actually, I am trying to forget this book, but I cannot – not sure what that means? Our previously reviewed book Mexican Gothic was supposed to be scary, this book is truly scary. A genre unto itself really. The author says there is much social commentary here – I didn’t get most of it, but maybe it’s that young teenage girls and animals are the smartest of all? – nice thought. Or maybe its “the meek shall inherit what’s left of the earth”? We have vowed to keep this blog apolitical, but my bet is the conservatives among us will blame the outcome of this story on the liberals, and the liberals among us will blame the conservatives – kind of like real life; and ultimately, is anyONE truly to blame? Probably not. I couldn’t wait for this tale to end. If you discuss this book among friends, I am sure the conversation will be lively – on a Life of Pi level. Read it, and as they say on “Coffee Talk” – “talk amongst yourselves”.