This is the novel of the tv show from HBO. I am watching the show now and there’s a lot in the show that I think the novel might have been improved had it contained some of the different choices, but also, I think the novel captures some things much better.
So the plot here is that about 1-2 percent of the world population disappears in what appears to be the Rapture. It’s called the Rapture, but there’s no clear consensus about whether that’s an accurate understanding of the event, what the event would mean, how to take it, and what it does or doesn’t apply about large metaphysical questions.
For the characters in the book, and to some extent the world at large, this event has broken things. It’s not that different from Avengers in this way, except that it not being half of everything, the grief, the trauma, and the world-after is still quite functional. There is however for a large population of survivors a fundamental change to everything that goes beyond grief in some ways, and sideways to grief in others.
The novel focuses on the small town of Mapleton, New York and more specifically on the Garveys, the husband being mayor of the town, the daughter being in the turmoils of confusing adolescence facing down this new world, the son having up and left to follow a cult leader, and the mother having joined a separatist group called the Guilty Remnant, a group of people who can no longer connect with even the remotest vestiges of the social contract and seek to moderately to seriously disrupt that social order through forms of what we could call uncivil disobedience.
The most standout part of the novel is the tone, which seems to try to capture a deadened feeling, which I think is mostly successful.