Leave the World Behind

Finalist, National Book Awards 2020 for Fiction

ISBN 9780062667632
Ecco / HarperCollins Publishers
Rumaan Alam

Rumaan Alam is the author of the novels Rich and Pretty, That Kind of Mother, and Leave the World Behind. Rumaan Alam is the author of the novels Rich and Pretty, That Kind of Mother, and Leave the World Behind, a National Book Award Finalist. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Bookforum, and The New Republic. More about this author >

Award Years

Award Status

Award Categories

From the publisher:

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.

Judges Citation

Leave the World Behind is elegant, sensuous, thrilling, taut. It is an incisive examination of race and class, an absorbing story about what the beginning of the end of the world might look like. This novel is a towering achievement. Rumaan Alam’s prose is precise, pointed, gorgeous. The characters he brings to life and their humanity are so finely observed. Leave the World Behind will want you to do anything but that.

X