Leave the World Behind (Paperback)Rumaan Alam (author)
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Both deeply unsettling chiller and audacious take on the febrile politics of modern society, Alam’s immersive page-turner places a vacationing couple at the mercy of strangers in need.
Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for June 2021
Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2021
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 to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a holiday: 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 with a late-night knock on the door, the spell is broken.
Ruth and G. H., an older couple who claim to own the home, have arrived there in a panic. These strangers say that a sudden power outage has swept the city, and - with nowhere else to turn - they have come to the country in search of shelter. But with the TV and internet down, and no phone service, the facts are unknowable. Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple - and vice versa? What has happened back in New York? Is the holiday home, isolated from civilisation, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?
An impossibly compelling literary thriller about the world we live in now, Rumaan Alam's novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped in moments of crisis - and how the most terrifying situations are never far from reality.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 186 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
'Leave the World Behind is that rarest of things: a beautifully written, emotionally resonant page-turner. Alam explores complex ideas about privilege and fate with miraculous wit and grace' - Jenny Offill, author of Weather
'Perfectly paced, clever and haunting . . . This is one of those stories that inspires a hungry turn of pages, preceded by that desperate and lovely need to come up for air. So easily the best thing I've read all year' - Kiley Reid, author of Such a Fun Age
'This is an exceptional examination of race and class and what the world looks like when it's ending - not at all different from the world we are in now' - Roxane Gay, author of Hunger
'Rumaan Alam's Leave the World Behind is a canny Trojan horse of a novel, and also a Pandora's Box. Like the family at its center, we're seduced utterly by the bounty and insularity of its world, only to find ourselves, inch by inch, approaching a larger darkness lurking just beyond. With a potent Shirley Jackson energy, it is both eerily timeless and sharply prescient at once, and lingers long after its final page' - Megan Abbott, author of Give Me Your Hand
'Leave the World Behind is so many things--funny, sharp, insightful about modernity and race and parenthood and home--but at its core it's a story of our shared apocalypse; a steady look at humanity in the moment it tumbles from a great height. I have not been this profoundly unnerved by a science fiction novel since Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.' - Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
'Simply breathtaking . . . An extraordinary book, at once smart, gripping and hallucinatory' - The Observer
'Poised to be one of the biggest titles of the fall ... A comedy of manners wrapped inside a tense disaster plot' - New York Magazine
'A slippery and duplicitous marvel of a novel ... Leave the World Behind is atmospheric and prescient: its rhythms of comedy alternating with shock and despair mimic so much of the rhythms of life right now ... A signature novel for this blasted year' - NPR
'Rarely have I encountered a book so cuttingly prescient about the current emotional atmosphere . . . Alam's deployment of creepy, inexplicable detail is masterful . . . This is a thrilling book - one that will speak to readers who have felt the terror of isolation in these recent, torturous months and one that will simultaneously, as great books do, lift them out of it' - Vogue
'The fall's biggest novel' - Entertainment Weekly
'Like Stephen King's 1980 novella The Mist, Leave the World Behind expertly illustrates the horror of the unknown, the almost painful humanity we feel when facing down the end and, of course, human nature under duress. During an era of plague, racism, hatred, and division, this tale of a vacation gone awry is terrifyingly prescient' - Rolling Stone
'Enthralling . . . Alam keeps close to his characters, who, like insects in acrylic, remain trapped in a state of suspended unease. This, he suggests, is the modern disaster - the precarity of American life, which leaves us unsure, always, if things can get worse . . . Alam's achievement is to see that his genre's traditional arc, which relies on the idea of aftermath, no longer makes sense. Today, disaster novels call for something different, a recognition that we won't find a new normal' - New Yorker
'One of the eeriest, most disturbing stories I've read in some time . . . The contours of everything might be recognisable, but what's contained within is wholly deranged' - Refinery 29
'Riveting and claustrophobic, Leave the World Behind invites us to sit with our discomfort and reflect on our own rushed judgments, delivering a dazzling and dark examination of family, race, class and what matters most when the impossible becomes possible' - Esquire
'Here in your hands, wrapped in the delicious cloth of suspense, Rumaan Alam begs us to ask the most important questions. How do we let the other in? Where do we draw the borders of home? A prescient book, built for these strange times, sure to entrance and electrify' - Samantha Hunt, author of The Dark Dark
'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' - Laura Lippman, author of Lady in the Lake
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