The BookBrowse Review

Published September 16, 2020

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Contents

In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

Highlighting indicates debut books

Editor's Introduction
Reviews
Hardcovers Paperbacks
First Impressions
Latest Author Interviews
Recommended for Book Clubs
Book Discussions

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Novels


Historical Fiction


Short Stories/Essays


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Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


Biography/Memoir


History, Science & Current Affairs


Travel & Adventure


Young Adults

Novels


Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


Extras
  • Blog:
    What To Do When Members Come to Book Club Without Reading the Book?
  • Wordplay:
    L N Take I C
  • Book Giveaway:
    Memorial Drive
    by Natasha Trethewey
Book Jacket

Leave the World Behind
by Rumaan Alam
6 Oct 2020
256 pages
Publisher: Ecco
ISBN-13: 9780062667632
Genre: Novels
Critics:
Readers:
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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 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 other?

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.

"[S]pectacular...This illuminating social novel offers piercing commentary on race, class and the luxurious mirage of safety, adding up to an all-too-plausible apocalyptic vision." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[A] riveting novel that thrums with suspense yet ultimately offers no easy answers...Addressing race, risk, retreat, and the ripple effects of a national emergency, Alam's novel is just in time for this moment." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"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

"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

"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

"This novel left me tense, overwhelmed, and bristling with admiration. Rumaan Alam is a brilliant writer, a beautiful prose stylist with an uncanny talent for drawing characters—both their individual quirks and foibles, and the subtle gradations of class and circumstance. In this novel he combines those gifts with absolutely superb pacing and atmospheric control, balancing the comic and the tragic, the real and the surreal, the cynical and the empathetic, the individual and the collective. I'm blown away by this novel." - Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State

Write your own review

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Lorri
Harrowing
This book! Alam has managed to write a perfect COVID-era book that is not about COVID, but the desire to keep what we love safe in times of terrible uncertainty and coming away with no good answers. Harrowing is the word I keep coming back to. Couldn't put it down. Recommended for fans of St. John Mandel's Station Eleven. Forget DeLillo's upcoming novel, this is the book you want to read.

Rumaan Alam is the author of Leave the World Behind, Rich and Pretty, and That Kind of Mother. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, The Rumpus, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere. He studied at Oberlin College, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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