November 13, 2012

Author Q & A: After the Great Disappearance

Tom Perrotta's new novel imagines those not taken in the Rapture.


(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

Tom Perrotta


WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: Space Gallery 538 Congress St., Portland


INFO: 774-6064

It is how some people start their lives over again and some people diverge. Some people resume the lives they have been living, and some go into an entirely different direction. 

The event of the sudden departure is not the subject of this book. The subject of the book is how people start their lives after this trauma.

Q: I haven't read your earlier books, but I have read that they have been comic novels. So "The Leftovers" was quite a shift.

A: I think moving away from the comic has been going on for a while. When people talk about comic novels they are the early novels, like "Election" in 1998, and "Wishbones" in 1997 and "Joe College" in 2000. But once I got to "Little Children" in 2004, it was still funny but a serious and dark subject matter.

"The Leftovers" is a shift because it turned out to be so much about grief and loss.

Q: Are you working on your next book yet, or are you too busy on the HBO project?

A: I'm working on a collection of short stories. Some of them had been written over the years, but now when I have time to write fiction, I work on a short story.

Q: Is that unusual? I thought most writers start with short stories and then do novels.

A: I wrote my first book, "Bad Haircut," as a collection of linked short stories. I have written short stories over the years in between novels, so it is not something that I had abandoned. But my short stories tend to be long. I lack the ability of compression that short story writers have.

Tom Atwell is a freelance writer living in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)



More PPH Blogs