Leaving the World by Douglas Kennedy

There's nothing like writing a post with "Sunday Salon" in the title for obliging you to write a Monday post, even though it has been a long, long day for one reason or another – not least because this morning was the first work day since the clocks "sprang" forward on Saturday, so it felt as if we were getting up at an even more ridiculous hour than usual.

Never mind that, back to business and the post. The other week I read a review of a book in The Times – the book is called Leaving the World, by Douglas Kennedy.

I very much enjoyed the first two books by Douglas Kennedy, which were nail-biting Grisham-esque thrillers set in that sort of Madison Avenue, big business world that seems so glossy from the outside. One is called The Job, and the second is The Big Picture. The author then changed tack completely, and wrote several very highly regarded literary novels, none of which I have read, though I do own a couple of them. He has written many reviews and literary features in the newspapers, including several in The Times, which I read. He's been rebranded and his books now have soft-focus, introspective, "arty" covers. His official website does not even list these initial two, lowbrow books – but I liked them, especially the first.

Leaving the World seems possibly to be a return to his roots. According to the Times review, Douglas Kennedy is famous for writing insightfully about women's lives, and crafting gripping narratives (the word "unputdownable" is used). This latest book is about Jane, a literature scholar whose lover dies suddenly, causing her to leave academia for a big-money job at a hedge-fund (irony alert). Various tragic, life-changing events ensue, from the sounds of it. Part of the plot involves Jane's desire to solve the case of a local girl who has gone missing, which leads, according to the Times, to a "nail-biting denouement". (Hmm, unputdownable and nail-biting in the same review!) "The only people who will not instantly adore this book are those who are squeamish about lost hedge-funds or missing children. For everyone else, it may well be the most thrilling 450 pages they will read all year." (Published in the USA on 21 April.)

Times review by Melissa Katsoulis of Leaving the World.

Telegraph review by Jane Shilling of Leaving the World.

Book Bag review.

Douglas Kennedy on Wikipedia.

2 thoughts on “Leaving the World by Douglas Kennedy

  1. I think I have had Kennedy´s The Big Picture on my shelf for years. The cover doesn´t strike me as unputdownable, but maybe I should give him a second chance.

  2. I thought The Job was better than The Big Picture, mainly because I think the second book had elements of the first in it – the first was pretty original- to me, then. (It is some years old now, so may seem dated now; perhaps I should read it again.) These two books have elements of “Derailed” by James Siegel, a rather good book that was made into not such a good film with Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston.

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