It’s late afternoon and I’m in that in-between stage of the day, where it’s definitely the end of the weekend, but it seems wrong to already be thinking about work… *sigh*... That’s ok, as I have the upcoming long weekend to look forward to, and there are lots of exciting things happening at work this week, so it should be fun.
I read a fabulous book last week that I would highly recommend to anyone who likes satire or novels that mock traditional religions and also cults. If this sounds like you, then maybe Tom Perotta’s The Leftovers would be a good choice for you. In this novel, October 14 was the day that 2% of the world’s population disappeared. Was it the Rapture? Some believed that it was, but it made no sense, as “Hindus and Buddhists and muslims and Jews and atheists and animists and homosexuals and Exkimos and Mormons and Zoroastrians, whatever the heck they were - hadn’t accepted Jesus Christ as their personal saviour. As far as anyone could tell, it was a random harvest, and one thing the Rapture couldn’t be was random. The whole point was to separate the wheat from the chaff, to reward the true believers and put the rest of the world on notice. An indiscriminate Rapture was no Rapture at all” (p. 3). I love that passage and had to find a way to put it in this blog. Anyway, all these people disappeared with no explanation, and three years after what the people of Mapleton, a small, typical US town, refer to as the Sudden Departure, family and friends are still trying to cope with the loss, the grief, the feelings of abandonment and hopelessness. Some are trying to move on and lead what they consider “normal” lives, but their efforts are constantly hindered by a small cult group calling themselves the Guilty Remnants (GR), who dress all in white, take a vow of silence, smoke ceaselessly and take it upon themselves to follow these people and remind them of what they’ve lost - they will not let them forget. Some others are so mired in guilt and loss that they have joined the Healing Hug Movement, led by spiritual leader Holy Wayne. Still others join the Barefoot People, modern-day hippies who seek pleasure at every opportunity. Mayor Kevin Garvey is a man who would love to move on, but his wife has joined the GR, his son the Healing Hug Movement, and his daughter Jill just seems to be coasting through life after years of academic and sports excellence. What can Kevin do to help people move on, and how can he, too, actually move beyond his loss? Kevin’s family members make up the central casting of this novel, but readers are treated to a myriad of community members who are all trying to cope in different ways and are at different stages of acceptance. Never has a book exploring the different ways people grieve been so humourous or managed to be both lighthearted and also insightful, at least in my experience. Perotta certainly understands the human condition, and looks at the situation of loss and grief, and the ultimate experience of not knowing, from so many varied perspectives. I borrowed the first season of the HBO series from the library, but I could barely watch it, as it was so angry and violent. It seemed to miss the point of the novel completely, and while I didn’t think I was that invested in the book, I guess I am, as I had to turn it off. Needless to say, I will not be watching the rest of it, but my husband, who hasn’t read the book, found it really interesting, so he may finish all three seasons.
And I hope to tell you about Kelley Armstrong’s Murder at Haven’s Rock next week. I’m finally reading it, a year after it came out and just in time for the next book in the series, The Boy Who Cried Bear, to be published. So far, it’s very good, like a “Rockton” novel, but not.
That’s all for today. Have a good week, stay warm and keep reading!