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Summary

Bloomsbury presents Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, read by Marin Ireland. 

Picked as a book of the autumn by Vogue, Time, Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Vulture, Newsweek, NY Observer, Refinery29, New York Post, PopSugar and LA Mag.

Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction. 

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 to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a holiday: 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 with a late-night knock on the door, the spell is broken. Ruth and G. H., an older couple who claim to own the home, have arrived there in a panic. These strangers say that a sudden power outage has swept the city, and - with nowhere else to turn - they have come to the country in search of shelter. 

But with the TV and internet down, and no phone service, the facts are unknowable. Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple - and vice versa? What has happened back in New York? Is the holiday home, isolated from civilisation, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?

An impossibly compelling literary thriller about the world we live in now, Rumaan Alam's novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped in moments of crisis - and how the most terrifying situations are never far from reality.

Soon to be a major global Netflix adaptation starring Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts. 

©2020 Rumaan Alam (P)2020 HarperCollins US

Critic reviews

"I have not been this profoundly unnerved since Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go." (Carmen Maria Machado)

"The fall’s biggest novel." (Entertainment Weekly)

"An exceptional examination of race and class and what the world looks like when it's ending." (Roxane Gay)

What listeners say about Leave the World Behind

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A massive disappointment

I can’t tell you how disappointed I was in how this book finished. The story was just getting going and then it ended. I actually had to go back and check it was the last chapter and check the playing time on Audible to make sure. Essentially the book just stops without coming to a conclusion. The story is engaging up to that point and well narrated. I guess some will argue the ending means you have to make up your own mind about what happened to the families concerned but to me it was lazy and inconclusive

9 people found this helpful

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Poignant reminder of our precarity

This is a brilliant book, which is beautifully read by Marin Ireland and Rumaan Alam's evocative prose a very poignant reminder of the precarity of humanity - particularly poignant, considering I listened to this book during the second lockdown in London in November 2020. Alam's prose is economic but also focuses on the minutiae of our lives and the pointlessness of much of what we do everyday, that seems so important to us at the time, but becomes less important when we realise that humanity is slowly, inexorably, moving towards extinction. It is not the planet that is being destroyed but just the human race; the planet will go on, with the white, traumatised deer and the upright, solitary trees and whatever else survives into an unpredictable future.

8 people found this helpful

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best book ever!!

this is definitely the best book I'VE ever read/listened to,in 45 years of reading.just a shame it isn't longer.i wanted it to carry on.

5 people found this helpful

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Really?

An overly long tale in which not much happens to a handful of uninteresting characters.

4 people found this helpful

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Wish the author had finished it !

I was fairly engaged in this book and although not gripped by the story or the writing style I was still interested enough to see it through to the conclusion...then it just stopped. Bad book

3 people found this helpful

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This book was almost 5 stars and then sort of laid down and died

Bang up start. Excellent writing and then at the last 15 minutes, rolled over and sort of died. Without spoiling. A strange catastrophe occurs. 2 isolated families interact brilliantly and things fall apart.

A meaningful explanation of just HOW and why this happens is never developed.

Finally, one of the characters just walks away without a word and we are told they survive.

It was literally a brilliant book, that ended in a whimper. Maybe thats the point?

I would give it a read for sure. i am curious to know if people had the same impression as I.

3 people found this helpful

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Author a bit obsessed with smelly body excretions.

Every other paragraph seemed to be mentioning bodily functions or nasty bodily smells for no reason. It was also incredibly repetitive, characters simply repeating the exact same line seconds later. 🤷🏻‍♀️Just why?
And don't get me started on the non ending.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent

This book is excellent and the narration is perfect. It is thoughtful, provocative and a warning to humanity. The storyline is clear & I can't understand the reviewers who didn't understand it. A thoroughly good listen. I hope the author can write another book soon!

1 person found this helpful

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Painfully slow

This was a huge disappointment after all the hype. I had to give up on it in the end . Extremely slow and descriptive and not going anywhere.

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating

Really enjoyed the premise of this book and the execution. Really good narration. The end felt a bit flat, but that was always the danger with such a novel. Very thought provoking.