Leaving the World: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

"Nobody gets away lightly in life"...especially Jane, the heroine of this paperback original by Douglas Kennedy, the author of 8 previous novels. Every relationship of Jane's ends for her with more guilt, mass confusion, bitterness, and sometimes death. No wonder she can think of no other solution than "leaving the world." But Jane is strong, smart, and determined. Her journeys are gripping and the reader just keeps pushing for her ultimate life success. This beautifully written novel is thoroughly engrossing, and reveals an author who is a master storyteller, full of heart.

— Margaret, Pittsburgh


#1 International Bestseller

“In this surging epic, a veritable decathlon of the spirit, Kennedy incisively dramatizes the enigma of chance, petty cruelty, and catastrophic evil, ‘unalloyed grief,’ and the tensile strength concealed beneath our obvious vulnerability.” —Booklist (starred review)

On the night of her thirteenth birthday, Jane Howard made a vow to her warring parents: she would never get married, and she would never have children.

But life, as Jane comes to discover, is a profoundly random business. Many years and many lives later, she is a professor in Boston, in love with a brilliant, erratic man named Theo. And then Jane becomes pregnant. Motherhood turns out to be a great welcome surprise—but when a devastating turn of events tears her existence apart she has no choice but to flee all she knows and leave the world.

Just when she has renounced life itself, the disappearance of a young girl pulls her back from the edge and into an obsessive search for some sort of personal redemption. Convinced that she knows more about the case than the police do, she is forced to make a decision—stay hidden or bring to light a shattering truth.

Leaving the World is a riveting portrait of a brilliant woman that reflects the way we live now, of the many routes we follow in the course of a single life, and of the arbitrary nature of destiny. A critically acclaimed international bestseller, it is also a compulsive read and one that speaks volumes about the dilemmas we face in trying to navigate our way through all that fate throws in our path.

About the Author

Douglas Kennedy is the author of eleven previous novels, including the international bestsellers The Moment and Five Days. His work has been translated into twenty-two languages, and in 2007 he received the French decoration of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He divides his time among London, New York, and Montreal, and has two children. Find out more at DouglasKennedyNovelist.com.

Praise For…

“Kennedy is a master storyteller, who never fails to keep you gripped until the last page.”
— Sarah Dunant

Leaving the World is a classy page-turner from a novelist who has become a cultural icon in Europe. This is a novel about guilt, uncertainty, redemption, and the fact that we build the roads upon which the accidents of chance occur. Kennedy's characters embark on long, complex, provocative journeys, and their ultimate strength is that -- like the writer -- they can throw off bright sparks in the dark.”
— Colum McCann

"The tough, bright heroine of Leaving the World barrels ahead through life, with pluck and acerbity, bruises and injustices not always stepping out of her path. In his fast-paced, engrossing novels Douglas Kennedy always has his brilliant finger on the entertaining parts of human sorrow, fury, and narrow escapes. Wonderful."
— Lorrie Moore

"Douglas Kennedy is famous for two things: writing insightfully about women's lives, and crafting narratives so utterly gripping as to redefine the concept of unputdownable. In Leaving the World, these strengths combine to make an unforgettable reading experience."
— The Times (London)

“This is a book with lasting impact: powerful, provocative, and tender.”
— Publishers Weekly

“In this surging epic, a veritable decathlon of the spirit, Kennedy incisively dramatizes the enigma of chance, petty cruelty, and catastrophic evil, 'unalloyed grief,' and the tensile strength concealed beneath our obvious vulnerability.”
— Booklist (starred)

“If you read only one book this summer, make sure it’s Douglas Kennedy’s Leaving the World.”
— BookPage

“Readers who enjoy well-written mainstream works like those of Richard Yates, Richard Russo, Jodi Picoult, and Jane Smiley will be happy to add Kennedy to their list of favorites.”
— Library Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9781439180785
ISBN-10: 1439180784
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 15th, 2010
Pages: 512
Language: English