Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Perrotta Novels

I've had mixed experiences with the novels of Tom Perrotta. I absolutely loved Little Children (you can find my review here), but The Wishbones, not so much - I found it to be too glib and with too many coincidences.

His new novel The Leftovers has a fascinating premise: "a rapturelike event has whisked millions of people off the face of the earth." What makes this conceit really interesting is that the people that were taken away have nothing in common. As Stephen King puts it in his great NYTimes review, "Nor do all (or even most) of the missing qualify as Camping-style Christians; those raptured away include Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and the odd alcoholic… [and] the rapture’s failure to conform to biblical prophecy has driven some people plumb over the edge."

I heard Perrotta talking about the novel on NPR the other day and was intrigued by his thinking about the premise. He was thoughtful and respectful about the implications of the rapture but didn't seem too serious. I enjoy the idea of taking a seemingly absurd idea and making it come true but with a twist. Plus, if the book is anything like Little Children, it will be written well in what SK describes as "beautifully modulated narration... His lines have a calm and unshowy clarity."

(As an aside, I hesitated to link to that review of Little Children, because it's a good example of my writing when I don't take the time to edit myself - it's unclear, stream of consciousness writing that's more thinking out loud than thoughtful conclusions. Still, it is what it is, but take it with a grain of salt.)

Cross posted at Reading, Running and Red Sox

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