Novelist, Contributing Editor at The New Republic, husband, father
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I'm the author of three novels: Rich and Pretty, That Kind of Mother, and Leave the World Behind. Other writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Buzzfeed, and the New Republic, where I am a contributing editor. I co-host two podcasts for Slate, where I am also one of the Care & Feeding advice columnists. I studied writing at Oberlin College. Now I live in New York with my husband and two kids.
"This novel left me tense, overwhelmed, and bristling with admiration. Rumaan Alam is a brilliant writer, a beautiful prose stylist with an uncanny talent for drawing characters—both their individual quirks and foibles, and the subtle gradations of class and circumstance. In this novel he combines those gifts with absolutely superb pacing and atmospheric control, balancing the comic and the tragic, the real and the surreal, the cynical and the empathetic, the individual and the collective. I'm blown away by this novel." -Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State “Spectacular and ominous…. This illuminating social novel offers piercing commentary on race, class and the luxurious mirage of safety, adding up to an all-too-plausible apocalyptic vision. -Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind is a canny Trojan horse of a novel, and also a Pandora’s Box. Like the family at its center, we’re seduced utterly by the bounty and insularity of its world, only to find ourselves, inch by inch, approaching a larger darkness lurking just beyond. With a potent Shirley Jackson energy, it is both eerily timeless and sharply prescient at once, and lingers long after its final page.” -Megan Abbott, author of Give Me Your Hand "The novel that looks to be the breakout hit of the fall, “Leave the World Behind” is a deeply unnerving, gorgeously written thriller." -NJ.com “In Leave the World Behind, readers wonder how Alam predicted our contemporary dystopian anxiety…. With lush details that sink under your skin, this is a novel whose confrontational impact lingers.” -New York Observer “Alam shows an impressive facility for getting into his characters’ heads and an enviable empathy for their moral shortcomings, emotional limitations, and failures of imagination. The result is a riveting novel that thrums with suspense yet ultimately offers no easy answers—disappointing those who crave them even as it fittingly reflects our time. Addressing race, risk, retreat, and the ripple effects of a national emergency, Alam's novel is just in time for this moment.” -Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Prepare to sleep with the lights on." -Popsugar “So clever and so subtle that it draws readers into a false sense of security and understanding…. Initially, the book seems to be about a modern marriage and family, priorities and choices, and how one measures success in the 21st century, and it is. But it is also much more…. Perfectly timed for today’s uncertain world.” -Library Journal “Perfectly paced, clever and haunting . . . This is one of those stories that inspires a hungry turn of pages, preceded by that desperate and lovely need to come up for air. So easily the best thing I’ve read all year.” -Kiley Reid, author of Such a Fun Age "Leave The World Behind is that rarest of things, a beautifully written, emotionally resonant page-turner. Alam explores complex ideas about privilege and fate with miraculous wit and grace." -Jenny Offill, author of Weather “Rumaan Alam's witty, incisive take on the American privileged classes has always been hilarious, but there's a sinister shadow behind the satire in his latest book, as it becomes increasingly tense and unsettling. Alam has achieved a rare feat—a comic novel that is also genuinely terrifying.” -Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will
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