There is a state of being that is slightly more ominous than a family vacation deep in the land of zero cellphone bars. It's spotty coverage. A place where you cannot quickly access the wide world of information, but an occasional alert might break through with just enough information to let you know that all is not well in the great Out There.

Such is the case for the family looking for a little leisure in Rumaan Alam's "Leave the World Behind." Amanda, Clay and Co. have packed the car, swept the grocery store and settled into a rental on Long Island. All is well until they get a late-night knock on the door. It's an older couple claiming to be the home's owners, who tell them that there is a blackout in New York City. Rather than negotiate their apartment without an elevator and in the dark, they want to settle into the basement bedroom for the night.

But it's not just one night. These humans are given, for better or worse, a pause before they must respond to The Unknown Something.

Something is happening in the wider world, but they don't quite have access to the details. And it takes the adults a while to notice nature's response to the upheaval. This novel, a classic page-turner, carries a low-level omnipresent thud of unease while also exploring isolation, privilege and the unusual, sometimes funny and too-real human experiment of sharing space with strangers.

Title: "Leave the World Behind"

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Author: Rumaan Alam

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Pages: 232