Leave the World Behind
A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong
If you enjoyed A Children's Bible, then you’ll love Leave the World Behind.
“Riveting! I hurried through this apocalyptic novel about two families thrown together during an earth shattering event. Alam builds tension even during a relaxing family day at the beach and expertly paces the reader through idle, dreamy stages and amps up the speed during stressful times. A thought-provoking study of humanity.”Melanie, The Well-Read Moose
“Eerie and timely, Leave the World Behind will be the next book to talk about. Rumaan Alam is now solidified as a must-read author for me. He lures the reader in with excellent character development as well as family drama when the book takes a sudden turn. Slowly and masterfully, he starts building tension and suspense while teasing the reader with ominous threats in the background. Before you know it, you’ve stayed up half the night racing to the end of the book. It’s a fast read but a powerful book asking important questions.”Katerina, BookShop West Portal
“This fraught and claustrophobic psychological thriller begins innocently enough, with a family leaving New York for a long weekend at a rented house near the beach. They enjoy the luxury and languor of their getaway, until the house's owners, an older Black couple, show up unexpectedly, late at night, fleeing from a wide-spread power outage in the city. The two families settle into a routine of forced camaraderie, unable to get news from the outside world, and relying increasingly on each other. But as the consequences of the unnamed disaster become more apparent, the veneer of civilization slides away as survival becomes less of a given. With only rare glimpses beyond the perspectives of the main characters, Leave the World Behind plunges the listener into the same tense, paranoid state that the characters experience as their fears evolve from mundane concerns to unimaginable horrors. Give yourself time to listen to the whole thing in one go, because you won't be able to stop until you reach the end.”Emily, Inklings Bookshop
“Alam has such skill with the omniscient narrator! The suspense and mystery is enhanced through each character and their reactions to the events, plus the info drops are intriguing and relevant. This is a novel that gets under your skin and stays there. And if that sounds creepy, well, it is! This novel is creepy as well as thought provoking, timely, and funny. It raises issues about parenting, class, race, and teenage hormones. Not what I expected, and so much more.”Kristine, Buttonwood Books and Toys
“I tore through LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND, a breath-taking stunner that slyly becomes a heart-thumping thriller. Alam examines race, class, and family relationships subtly and this is where his storytelling shines. 5 of 5 stars!”Rachel, Avid Bookshop
“I can’t help but laugh as I recollect this novel. Darkly funny and richly suspenseful, it follows a white family and a Black couple in a remote New York house as a series of unfathomable events occur around them. Alam comments on our modern obsession with information, as we compulsively scroll our feeds and pat our pockets in panic to ensure our phones’ presence. Without information, are humans really capable of anything? This book is a study of privileged people, what they do when they must prove their capabilities, what they do when they are frightened. Leave the World Behind is superb—its unanswered questions perfect for book discussions.”Mary, Raven Book Store
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN FICTION
A Recommended Book From
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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.
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