Leave the World Behind is a literary thriller with short chapters filled with expressive language and the slow chipping away of the outside world, that fits my love of the dystopian.
Amanda and Clay have rented a Long Island getaway, taking them away from the buzz of their Brooklyn lifestyle to a lovely upscale home with a pool, a much needed break for the family. “Step into our house and leave the world behind,” read the ad. An upper-middle class family with a teenager and a pre-teen, the vacation may be the last chance to interact as a family unit with Amanda’s promotion, and the children slowly leaning towards their own independent lives.
They are enjoying the luxuries of the home, falling into vacation mode of sunning by the pool, and meals of hamburgers and chips, when an unexpected knock on the door changes everything. The owners of the rental have come home.
Unrecognizable to Amanda (thanks to technology), GH and Ruth Washington, the owners, have come to their second home to escape the panic occurring in New York. Unaware of the impending pandemonium, Amanda and Clay have no idea what to do – does the payment entitle them to the full use of the house? A cheeky nod to the racial undertones of the novel.
The couples slowly learn to share the home as the impending disaster creeps in, the loss of contact as communication fades, and nature flocks around the home. Not a sharp panic, like many dystopian novels start out but psychologically suspenseful, trying to be prepared when you’re unsure of what is truly coming.
Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped, and unexpected new ones are forged, in moments of crisis.