Leaving the World: Book summary and reviews of Leaving the World by Douglas Kennedy

Leaving the World

A Novel

By Douglas Kennedy

Leaving the World
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2010,
    512 pages.

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Book Summary

Paperback Original. On the night of her thirteenth birthday, Jane Howard made a vow to her warring parents: she would never get married, and she would never have children.

But life, as Jane comes to discover, is a profoundly random business. Many years and many lives later, she is a professor in Boston, in love with a brilliant, erratic man named Theo. And then Jane becomes pregnant. Motherhood turns out to be a great welcome surprise—but when a devastating turn of events tears her existence apart she has no choice but to flee all she knows and leave the world.

Just when she has renounced life itself, the disappearance of a young girl pulls her back from the edge and into an obsessive search for some sort of personal redemption. Convinced that she knows more about the case than the police do, she is forced to make a decision—stay hidden or bring to light a shattering truth.

Leaving the World is a riveting portrait of a brilliant woman that reflects the way we live now, of the many routes we follow in the course of a single life, and of the arbitrary nature of destiny. A critically acclaimed international bestseller, it is also a compulsive read and one that speaks volumes about the dilemmas we face in trying to navigate our way through all that fate throws in our path.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Episodically structured yet with a strong narrative drive, this is a book with lasting impact: powerful, provocative, and tender." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. In this surging epic, a veritable decathlon of the spirit, Kennedy incisively dramatizes the enigma of chance, petty cruelty, and catastrophic evil, “unalloyed grief,” and the tensile strength concealed beneath our obvious vulnerability." - Booklist

"A sententious tendency to editorialise about abstracts – money, loss, relationships and so on – and a continual anxious fingering of great writers – Eliot, Shakespeare, Graham Greene – like rosary beads, leaves the impression that Kennedy would like Leaving the World to be considered as Great Literature. It isn’t that. But it is Great Entertainment." - The Daily Telegraph (UK)

"Kennedy keeps us wanting to know what happens next. ... It's tempting to criticise this book as manipulative, but being taken advantage is exactly what we pay him to do." - The Independent (UK)

"The only people who will not instantly adore this book are those who are squeamish about lost hedge-funds or missing children. For everyone else it may well be the most thrilling 450 pages they will read all year. Don't get on a long-haul flight without it, I say." - The Times (UK)

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Author Information

Douglas Kennedy Author Biography

Photo: Paul Stuart

Douglas Kennedy is the author of eleven novels, including the international bestseller Leaving the World and The Moment. His most recent novel is Five Days (2013). His work has been translated into 22 languages, and in 2007 he received the French decoration of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He has two children and now divides his time between London, Paris, Berlin and Maine.

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