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October 4, 2020

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts


"We heard the emergency broadcast system.'  Ruth thought this explained a great deal.  'Not a test.  Do you understand.  That's the only way I've ever heard it so I didn't even notice it as first.  Then I kept listening and I heard it again, again, again.  'This is the emergency broadcast system."  (p 43)
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Leave the World Behind
October 2020; Ecco; 978-0062667632
audio, ebook, print (256 pages); suspense
A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong.

Leave the World Behind really scared me -- not like a horror story or a supernatural story -- it scared me because it quickly took the characters from a quiet mundane life to a totally changed life but they didn't know what had caused the changes and what was going on in the world.

Amanda and Clay and their two children live in New York City and rented a house in an isolated area of Long Island - near the ocean but actually in the middle of nowhere.  The house is beautiful and they settle in to have a great week as a family.  Until the second night...when there is a  knock on the door after dark.  No one they know - but who was it?  It turned out to be the older couple who owned the house they were staying in.  They were out for dinner when the power went off in New York City so instead of going to their high rise apartment where the elevators and air conditioning wouldn't be working, they decided to drive to their vacation home to see if they could stay there until the power went back on.  But were they who they said they were???  The power was still on in the vacation home but the television, phones and laptops no longer worked.  Amanda and Clay let the owners stay for what they planned to be one night and then the world started to go wrong - no one really knew what was wrong but it just wasn't right.  As the four adults and two children try to discover what is going on, things just keep getting worse. Amanda and Clay want to keep their family safe but they don't know if they are safe from the owners of the house and they aren't sure if they should stay or try to go home.  

Suspenseful and provocative, this 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. The book was full of tension, lack of trust, and claustrophobia from being trapped in the house with strangers.


A recommended book from:

Vogue * TIME * The Washington Post * Buzzfeed * The Boston Globe * Vulture * Newsweek * NY Observer *  Refinery29 * The New York Post * Parade * The Millions * PopSugar * AARP * Publishers Weekly * Kirkus *  LA Mag * Alma


Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter

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