Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tom Perrotta

The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta’s new novel, follows the stories of those left behind when 87 people disappear from a small New England town during what may be the Rapture.

From Perrotta's Q & A with Christopher Hartman at the Christian Science Monitor:

Q. What inspired you to write about the Rapture in "The Leftovers?"

The original impulse came out of the research I did for "The Abstinence Teacher." I got to thinking about the Rapture, and what it might be like for contemporary secular Americans if something like that really did happen. The more I thought about it, the more interested I became – the Rapture is both a lovely and troubling image, and a surprisingly rich metaphor for growing older and living with loss. We’re all aware of the empty spaces around us, the absences that remind us of the people who are no longer there.

Q. Like the mystical Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana, you hold mirrors up to characters in your novels that often reveal sympathetic or brutally honest portraits. Which of these types of characters do you enjoy writing about the most and who would you say are among your favorite characters in your books?

Wow – that’s the first time I’ve ever been compared to a mystical anything, not to mention a Greek philosopher. I don’t really distinguish between sympathy and honesty when I’m writing. The two go together – I’m interested in inhabiting my characters, seeing the world through their eyes. That said I do enjoy writing the more extreme characters, the ones who are so caught up in their personal dramas they can’t get any perspective on...[read on]
See: Tom Perrotta's ten favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue