On October 14th, millions of people all over the world disappeared. One minute they were there and the next they were gone. If it was "The Rapture," many evangelists were disappointed to learn that they were still alive while agnostics, atheists, and Muslims were among the missing. Children had to cope without parents, friends were separated, and the survivors were left to try and sort out their emotions. Three years after this horrible event, the town of Mapleton held a parade commemorating "The Departed Heroes' Day of Remembrance and Reflection " to aid its residents in their quest to move on. The speeches were disrupted, however, by a demonstration by the Guilty Remnant, a group of white-robed, cigarette smoking devotees whose mission was to make everyone continue to grieve. As the townspeople of Mapleton spin out of control, they experiment with religous cults, and face painful truths as they try to manufacture some semblance of normality.
Tom Perrotta, noted for making suburbia represent the universe, has written the best 9/11 novel yet in The Leftovers, even though it technically does not deal with 9/11. Using "The Rapture" as a metaphor for the randomness of the attack on the World Trade Center, Perrotta makes the reader experience the plight of those who were left behind and are charged with the obligation to keep on living.