The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta I found myself completely enthralled with this book, the story of a family whose four members each have their own strategy for handling a rapture-like event called the Sudden Departure.

Let me start out by saying that Christian theology has almost nothing to do with this story, which was something of a relief. Anything Perrotta would have done in that vein would have been too caricature-ish, too heavy-handed. Instead, Perrotta chooses not to explain why a third of the world's population has vanished and focuses on how this bizarre event shapes the lives of those left behind. The fact that they have no idea what happened, either, makes it so much easier to put yourself in the characters' shoes. Perrotta has done a wonderful job drawing out some very three-dimensional characters with unique voices and perspectives, though I sometimes found myself wishing I could have stayed with one for a bit longer before switching to another.

Perrotta's prose is fantastic, simple and to-the-point. He's a writer who knows how to just simply tell the story. My only real disappointment was in the ending. It felt too abrupt, as if Perrotta simply didn't know where else to go. We reach a climax and then -- that's it. I wonder if that was an intentional device, playing on the theme of Sudden Departures. Either way, I could have used just a slightly less vague ending.