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Publisher's 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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Sleepy

I found this book had to much waffling in it and not much story. The people in it seemed so dumb. I was so bored with this book I’m not quite sure how I finished it.

2 people found this helpful

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wonderful novel

beautifully written and performed. An incredibly human story and so poignant for our current time.

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Wonderful just wonderful

This is terrifically well written book and a totally unique idea. Marin Ireland is a great narrator in fact the whole book is brilliant.

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Not a good story, annoying characters

Really struggled to get through this one. The voice actor was okay (except for her deep man voice). The story on the other hand was annoying. I waited until the very last word for something to happen. Wish I didn't waste hours listening.

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7 hours and it never got past the introduction

There’s was no plot to this story, I kept listening thinking at some stage there was going to be a twist or turn, but nothing. Completely anticlimactic. Still no idea what the point of the book was about.

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wasn't ready for it to end

Ah, I love and hate when authors leave you hanging like that. but, as an imaginary, I do love the hours of speculation it leaves me with.
very well done, if somewhat too close to home at times. if you're reading this, then I say give it a listen. Cheerio.

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captivating!

Was totally drawn into this. Have kept thinking it over and over since finishing.

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Maybe you need to be American to appreciate this?

I persevered to Chapter 19, but the lack of anything resembling usefulness in any character wore me down.
I have no idea why this trite garnered the great reviews it has, but there you go. Each to their own. I’m ditching it.

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Made me feel uneasy

Enjoyable prose, but the storyline was slow to develop and felt incomplete. Characters felt forced and unrealistic. It didn’t leave me with any lasting impressions - just a feeling of unease!

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LEAVE THIS BOOK BEHIND

A VERY slow burn- very uneventful and vague.
Overwritten and confusing prose.

soooo frustrating as I really wanted to like this one

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  • Huw Thomas
  • 24-11-2020

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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  • Taralouise
  • 16-11-2020

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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-12-2020

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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  • joanne greenwood
  • 07-05-2021

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

4 people found this helpful

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  • NeddyTheNed
  • 23-03-2021

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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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • J. Wexler
  • 20-11-2020

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Hazel
  • 05-07-2021

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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  • Mrs R.
  • 29-12-2020

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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  • Codfish
  • 17-11-2020

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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  • charlotte
  • 08-05-2022

It was a nice idea

I liked the premise of this, how lost we are without technology, won't know what's happening if our phone doesn't tell us. the only character I didn't hate was George. Amanda and Clay annoyed me so much, but I suppose they reacted how most of us would. there were scenes that I think the book did not need. like Archie in the shower after the first sound, he's a 16yr old boy, I did not need the descriptors that were included. I also want to know what was going on, was it war? Aliens? I get that we're not supposed to know but I dislike how ambiguous it was

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