Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam is a hard book to describe. The book deals with class, race, comfort, and guidance. The story is one part dystopian and the other part is about togetherness and finding comfort in the new dystopia, sort of; that’s the best way I can describe it. Conversations rule this book over actions, what I found interesting is characters acting civil while civilization is falling apart. The book plays with the reader asking who do you trust or why don’t you trust characters? The book is tense and claustrophobic, with the ongoing pandemic adding to the tension. The dialogue was written really well, and kept the flow since it’s a book of conversation. The author likes lists often with item, her is every thing in the fridge, or everything I’m picking up from the store, which I felt was unnecessary. Leave the World Behind is a book that was written to be discussed in colleges I feel, it does interesting things with narrative and focus that can lead to lots of discussion. The ending is really open ended with little or no character closure, but ends more on a statement on comfort. Leave the World Behind was a National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.
The Plot: Amanda and Clay are going on a vacation to a cabin in remote woods with their two teenage kids. The vacation home is nice with a pool and a Jacuzzi. So far everything is perfect, when late at night a knock comes at the door. An elderly black couple Ruth and G.H. tell the family that they’re the owners and something has happened in New York, a blackout, and they didn’t want to go their apartment, they wanted to go home. The television is just showing a blue screen, do they trust the couple or not?
What I Liked: The tension in the words and action with the added claustrophobic atmosphere. I like the questions the story brought up about trusting in another, what will it take? The dynamic of G.H. and Danny the repair man, of he fixed things we should go to him to fix this, a good rich versus poor dynamic. I liked the overall story idea being on vacation when something like this happens. The dialogue was good, for a book mainly about conversations the dialogue was fresh and drive the narrative. My favorite line was “Home was just where you were, in the end. It was just the place where you found yourself.”
What I Disliked: The list of things was annoying, for a short book, I thought I’d the author adding to the page count. I don’t mind a book being open ended, but I want some characters to have closure, and there was none. It felt very unfinished.
Recommendation: I will recommend this book to people that like to thoroughly analyze text in books. This can be a good book club just for the conversation it starts. The book has moments of deep tension that I couldn’t put down, I Liked the end passage in the book but at the same time feel let down about the ending. I rated Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam 3 out of 5 stars.