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The Returned [Hardcover]

Jason Mott
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 27.95
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Book Description

Aug. 27 2013
"Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were."  

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old. 

All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human. 

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.


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Review

"The Returned transforms a brilliant premise into an extraordinary and beautifully realized novel. My spine is still shivering from the memory of this haunting story. Wow." -Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Monster of Florence

"In his exceptional debut novel, poet Mott brings drama, pathos, joy, horror, and redemption to a riveting tale." -Publishers Weekly, starred review

"This book offers a beautifully written and emotionally astute lens at our world gone awry....Poet and debut author Mott has written a breathtaking novel that navigates emotional minefields with realism and grace."

-Kirkus, starred review

"Mott brings a singularly eloquent voice to this elegiac novel, which not only fearlessly tackles larger questions about mortality but also insightfully captures life's simpler moments....A beautiful meditation on what it means to be human."

-Booklist, starred review

"A wondrous surprise. With fine craftsmanship and a deep understanding of the human condition, Jason Mott has woven a tale that is in turns tragic and humorous and terrifying. Surely this will spark many a fabulous book club discussion." -Eowyn Ivey, New York Times bestselling author of The Snow Child

"A deft meditation on loss that plays out levels of consequence on both personal and international stages. Mott allows the magic of his story to unearth a full range of feelings about grief and connection." -Aimee Bender, New York Times bestselling author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

About the Author

Jason Mott holds a BA in fiction and an MFA in poetry and is the author of two poetry collections. His writing has appeared in numerous literary journals, and he was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. Jason lives in North Carolina.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
The Returned was written by Jason Mott and originally published in August 2013 by Harlequin Mira

Harold and Lucille Hargrave have changed a lot over the years. They have grown old since the unfortunate drowning of their only son Jacob on his eight birthday in 1966. They have finally settled into their lives without him when one day Jacob shows up on their doorstep looking just like he had the day they had last laid eyes on him. Jacob isn’t the only one who has come back; all around the world people have been returning from beyond. People don’t know how to react; Could this be a sign of the end or a miracle from God? Are these really their loved ones or an imitation of some sort? With emotions running high and tension building chaos is about to erupt, and the Hargrave family must find a way to live in this new reality to get through this tough time as a family.

Before we talk about the content of the book I want to mention the cover which I think is pretty yet haunting. I like the muted pastel colors of the sky, but the fact that the picture is turned upside down and you see the boy standing there makes it a little creepy. I think this fits the book well because the writing is absolutely beautifully haunting. It can also be a metaphor for how people’s lives are turned upside down when people start returning. This is the debut novel by Jason Mott who is a poet, and that fact is clear in his writing style. You can tell that he understands language and the importance of each and every word he uses throughout his novel. I listened to the audiobook which was fine, and the actor did a good job. The only thing that was worth noting was the voice of Max (Jacob’s friend and a very minor character) sounded like Stewie from Family Guy. I thought that was funny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Sept. 20 2013
By J. Scully TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Summary:
When the deceased begin returning to life and appearing all over the world without reason or explanation, society begins to panic. Some feel the resurrection of their loved ones is a miracle to be cherished, while many believe it to be a sign of the end of days. When 8 year old Jacob appears on Harold and Lucille Hargrave’s doorstep after being dead for over 50 years, he is received with mixed emotions. Lucille is thrilled to have her sweet, precious son back, but Harold doesn’t believe that the boy who stands before him can really be his son. As more and more of the Returned begin to appear, the government realizes that the questions raised by their appearance don’t have answers and this scares people. In an effort to control the situation, they start confining the once deceased to holding camps. As the story builds, we are left wondering if it's possible for the Returned to integrate back into society and if society will be able to accept them.

Review:
The character building in The Returned was wonderful. I felt as though I knew Harold and Lucille and could sympathize with their emotional turmoil as they tried to accept Jacob back into their life and integrate him into the community. The little snippets of tales of other Returned that were interspersed throughout the novel were just as fascinating as Jacob’s story. These accounts really helped create a broader and more emotional portrait of the Returned. At times the story felt a bit bogged down with overly descriptive prose, and I would have enjoyed a bit more time spent on how the Returned were dealing with being back, rather than how society was dealing with them. So many questions are raised by this incomprehensible occurrence … How are they coming back and why? Is it scientific, alien or miraculous?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What if... Sept. 12 2013
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The Returned is Jason Mott's debut novel.

Mott came up with his original and thought-provoking premise after his mother passed away. Missing her, he dreamed of her one night. And the next day thought...what if....what if "she actually did come back, just for one night? And what if it wasn't just her? What if it happened to other people, too?"

And those are the Returned. Jacob William Hargrave died at eight years old in 1966. Almost fifty years later a Bureau Agent shows up in small town Arcadia, MO at Lucille and Harold's door with - well - with eight year old Jacob. Lucille doesn't question the miracle, but Harold does.

As more and more Returned appear, the miracle loses its sheen. Arcadia is declared a holding area for The Returned. More and more are shipped in. The 'True Living' are feeling crowded out and wronged. Tempers flare and aggression grows. But all Lucille wants is to be a mother to her son again. And Harold, he would do anything to keep Lucille happy. Anything.

"Just because a person don't quite understand the purpose and meaning of a blessing, that doesn't make it any less of a blessing....does it?

Mott captured me. I truly had no idea where he was going to go with this story. Are The Returned a blessing or a curse? We hear some of The Returned's own stories in short insert chapters. We follow along as Lucille and Harold try to deal with the unexpected hand that has been dealt to them. And when the Bureau takes control, the struggle to follow their hearts - at heavy costs.

The Returned can be read on many levels - simply exploring the love we feel at the loss of a loved one - what would you do if you could have one more day again?
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Anxious to finish it
Published 2 months ago by Tuqua town Snowshoer
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
I read this through in about four hours. Captivated by the TV series I wanted to read the book. It has xlnt reviews. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Reg Hartt
1.0 out of 5 stars WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a COMPLETE COPY of an already well established French movie and then drama of the same freaking name!!! Read more
Published 4 months ago by kristyn drover
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Very Easy to Follow
I really enjoy reading this book. The story is very easy to follow and there is always something new or someone new to learn about. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Roxana Garcia
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and thought provoking read, worth the effort...
This book started slowly. Like the metronome on a piano, it ticked away, giving details slowly and building a story piece by piece. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jennifer Mclean
1.0 out of 5 stars REALLY?!
I'm sorry, but this is one great big, irrefutable rip off of the French show "Les Revenants" - which itself was a credited remake of the movie - "They Came Back". Read more
Published 8 months ago by Paul Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars Just okay.
The idea is super-interesting but the end just dragged on and on! I gave up after half way through and just skimmed to get to the end. Read more
Published 11 months ago by V. Bellinger
4.0 out of 5 stars The start of something big
A unique story that is compelling, if a bit unsatisfying, and exceptionally well written. Jason Mott's name belongs at the top of the list of new go-to authors.
Published 11 months ago by Scott Sakatch
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written
I may be bias on this one. The moment I read the synopsis I was in love with this story. Then when I picked it up at the book store and read the first chapter I had a difficult... Read more
Published 11 months ago by The Reader's Hollow
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a Joyous Event
The Returned has prompted a range of reactions and reviews. It is analogous to the variety of reactions society would have if our dead returned one day. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jeffrey Swystun
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