The phrase “worst-case scenario” calls to thoughts excessive situations, like being on a hijacked aircraft or a bridge all through an earthquake. But possibly greater realistically, maximum worst-case scenarios are mundane. They’re quieter and much less violent. They might even occur even as we’re on holiday. Such is the idea of Rumaan Alam’s novel, Leave the World Behind.
White mother and father Clay and Amanda leave Brooklyn for a gorgeous holiday condominium home far out on Long Island. Their children are thrilled approximately the pool, less thrilled approximately being isolated in the woods with no cell service. Their respite has slightly begun, however, when the house’s owners, rich Black couple George and Ruth, appear on the door inside the middle of the night. There’s been an epic blackout in New York City. Something seems very wrong, and the older couple notion they have to get out.
At first, Amanda is annoyed that their holiday has been interrupted. How awful ought to a blackout really be? And couldn’t this rich couple simply go stay in a hotel? But then eerie occurrences start to show up in which they are, too. It’s clean something horrible is happening.
Alam’s brilliance is much less in what he exhibits and more in what he doesn’t. Fear of the unknown ratchets up the reader’s anxiety, and but Leave the World Behind unfolds slowly for a thriller. The net and TV are down, and cell telephones won’t work, so facts about the disaster is scarce. “I can’t do anything without my phone,” Clay laments. “I’m a useless man.” Trying to reassure the youngsters and each other, the two couples hit the expected notes for grown-ups in a crisis: We’ll be fine. The authorities will have everything beneath control. We’re secure here. None of this turns out to be true.
Leave the World Behind is without a doubt timely inside the era of COVID-19, but it’s also applicable for all people who has wondered our society’s dependence on technology, or who has unwavering faith in the social contract. The characters second-wager their beliefs about safety and security. Readers who are safe at home—maybe?—can’t help however do the same.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Rumaan Alam reveals the private fears at the coronary heart of his terrifying new novel.