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The Returned Hardcover – Aug 27 2013
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"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
"Jason Mott's impressive debut novel...is a tense and touching treatise on life, death and life again."
- USA Today
-Entertainment Weekly, Summer Must List
"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
"This is a masterly first novel for Mott...it speaks to many aspects of the human condition....Highly recommended for those who love a strong story that makes them think."
-Library Journal, starred review
"Thought-provoking, occasionally dreamlike...Mott's story of literal life after death will catch readers by their hearts and capture their imaginations....Grab this book as soon as you possibly can."
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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?Read more ›
My issue with the book is the meandering, stark style which did not engage me. The characters, conversations and plot were really quite sad. I appreciated the honesty of the author's contention that if such a thing happened it would not be a joyous event. I agree that would be the case unfortunately as the book played out I grew increasingly depressed rather than involved or entertained. Though well written, halfway through I was looking forward to picking up another book.
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.Read more ›
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.
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?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is a book that will haunt you with possibilities long after you finish the last words. The dead have started to return to the world of the living. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Heather Pearson
I read this through in about four hours. Captivated by the TV series I wanted to read the book. It has xlnt reviews. Read morePublished on May 23 2014 by Reg Hartt
This is a COMPLETE COPY of an already well established French movie and then drama of the same freaking name!!! Read morePublished on May 8 2014 by kristyn drover
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 morePublished on April 18 2014 by Roxana Garcia
This book started slowly. Like the metronome on a piano, it ticked away, giving details slowly and building a story piece by piece. Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2014 by Jennifer Mclean
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 morePublished on Jan. 20 2014 by Paul Wilson
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 morePublished on Oct. 31 2013 by V. Bellinger
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 on Oct. 15 2013 by Scott Sakatch