LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN FICTION
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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 out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: 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 a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older couple — it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area — with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service — it’s hard to know what to believe.
Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple — and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one other?
Suspenseful and provocative, Rumaan Alam’s third 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.
Rumaan Alam is the author of Leave the World Behind, Rich and Pretty, and That Kind of Mother. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, The Rumpus, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere. He studied at Oberlin College, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.