The Leftovers, by Tom Perrotta.
They hunkered down for a couple of weeks, just the four of them, watching DVDs and playing board games, anything to distract themselves from the hysterical monotony of the TV news - the obsessive repetition of the same few basic facts, the ever-rising tally of the missing, interview upon interview with traumatized eyewitnesses, who said things like He was standing right next to me ... , or I just turned around for a second ..., before their voices trailed off into embarrassed little chuckles. The coverage felt different from that of September 11th, when the networks had shown the burning towers over and over. October 14th was more amorphous, harder to pin down: There were massive highway pileups, some train wrecks, numerous small-plane and helicopter crashes - luckily, no big passenger jets went down in the United States, although several had to be landed by terrified co-pilots, and one by a flight attendant who'd become a folk hero for a little while, one bright spot in a sea of darkness - but the media was never able to settle upon a single visual image to evoke the catastrophe. There also weren't any bad guys to hate, which made everything that much harder to get into focus.
Tom Perrotta has written numerous other novels, including Little Children, which was a great book that got turned into a film, and I like his writing a lot. The focus of the book is more on the people "left behind," and how October 14th affected them, rather than the events itself, and it is here in which the prose excels. The concept was interesting as well - how would you feel if some of the population just randomly disappeared? - and juxtaposes that against the setting of what used to be a normal, small-town community.
3.5 stars out of 5.