Three years on, the world still turns. Kevin Garvey isn't sure what happened, but he is now mayor of Mapleton. His wife has left him for a sect that refuses to speak and uses cigarettes like talismans. His college age son worships at the feet of a new age guru, Holy Wayne, who encourages others to give him all their money while he marries multiple times. And Jill Garvey, the daughter in high school who always got straight A's, is struggling for the first time.
This is a story of trying to find meaning in a world where the rules have changed. Do you become wanton and greedy because it doesn't matter anymore? Or do you become extremely devout in the hopes of a second rapture? Each of the family members chooses a different path to the new normal. These are ordinary people living in extraordinary times. Author Tom Perrota explores what leads each of them to the path they are on.
At the heart of the story is Kevin Garvey, grieving husband and father. While his children and wife remain alive he sees the distance growing between them until they no longer contact him. Knowing he has lost his wife he still wants to keep in contact with her and with their son. Will he lose his daughter Jill also? The struggle to save what isn't lost is at the center of this story. Kevin Garvey struggles, as everyone struggles in this new world, but in the end he is rewarded with a little piece of salvation.