Renowned stage and screen actors Tonya Pinkins (1992 Tony Award winner) and Marin Ireland (2009 Tony Award nominee) performed a dramatic reading of Leave the World Behind (Ecco), a magnetic novel by Rumaan Alam about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong. Written pre-pandemic, Leave the World Behind is eerily prescient in its examination of how humans respond to the sudden and incomprehensible shifts away from life as we knew it.
The New Yorker editor and novelist Jessica Winter, joined Alam in conversation after the performance.
Leave the World Behind
By Rumaan Alam
Published by Ecco
Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older couple–it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe. Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple–and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one other?