When the end of the world as we know it comes about in Rumaan Alam’s gripping third novel, Leave the World Behind, the two families brought together in the indulgent surroundings of a Long Island country retreat feel, well, uneasy. There’s no big moment, no flash of white light, alien invasion or virus. Just a lack of mobile phone coverage and television, strange animal gatherings and, intermittently, a deafening noise. A noise to be “experienced, endured, survived, witnessed”.
3.2 rating based on 79,172 ratings (all editions)
Author(s): Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
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.