Review by Sylvie Weissman
Okay, I get it – no one wants to read an apocalyptic novel right now. But you really should make an exception for Leave the World Behind. When the owners of their vacation rental show up, claiming that a major blackout has hit New York City, Amanda and Clay have to decide whether or not to trust them – and it’s impossible for them to find out what’s really going on. Rumaan Alam has created something wholly unique – a disaster novel in which the characters still think about doing laundry and maybe taking a swim, because what else are you supposed to do while waiting for the world to end? The endless succession of bizarre events makes the book read like a sci-fi thriller, but it is always tethered by the characters, who are beautifully realized and rendered. Frequently, people use fiction as a means of escape – I think that’s what a lot of us have been doing for most of this year. But to me, fiction is only worthwhile if it shows us something real and tangible. And with Leave the World Behind, Alam is showing us something we really need to see: ourselves. Scared, lonely and trying to figure out how to get from one moment to the next.