From the opening of the American writer’s 2004 novel

tom-perrotta-little-children.jpgThe young mothers were telling each other how tired they were. This was one of their favorite topics, along with the eating, sleeping, and defecating habits of their offspring, the merits of certain local nursery schools, and the difficulty of sticking to an exercise routine. Smiling politely to mask a familiar feeling of desperation, Sarah reminded herself to think like an anthropologist. I’m a researcher studying the behavior of boring suburban women. I am not a boring suburban woman myself.

Read the entire first chapter at the NYT website.

Writing in 2014, James Poniewozik (Time) reviews the first season of HBO’s excellent series, The Leftovers

file_118510_0_theleftoversartBy the standards of fictional global disasters, The Leftovers’ is a teensy one, just a smidgen of apocalypse. Two percent of the world’s population is gone–not dead, but vanished one Oct. 14 in what is being called the Sudden Departure. It sounds like the Christian Rapture, but it’s utterly random. It takes babies and adults; Christians, Buddhists and atheists; the devout and the drug dealer; plus Gary Busey and the entire former cast of Perfect Strangers. All told, 140 million people are gone, enough that some families are unscathed but no one is untouched. It’s enough to leave the species intact but heartsick; to leave society functioning but rudderless; to leave humanity standing but to kick the legs from under every existing belief system. (more…)