Published by MIRA on 2013-08-27
Genres: Fiction, Literary
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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.
I received this book for free from MIRA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
It’s been quite a few months since I read THE RETURNED by Jason Mott, but the story still lingers and every once in a while, when I see someone experience a loss on television, or hear of someone losing a loved on via my Facebook feed, or even the happy news of lost strangers being united with their families, my mind returns to the story in THE RETURNED.
It’s quite the story. Imagine losing a child or a loved one and then, years later, they appear on your doorstep, completely unchanged. And it’s not just happening to you – people around the world are experiencing the return of their loved ones. For Harold and Lucille, the story becomes very real when their son, Jacob, appears on their doorstep as a young, nine-year old boy, just the same age as when he was lost to them.
But Harold and Lucille have changed. And soon the town finds itself divided as some families seek to protect their returned and others fear who may just turn up on their doorstep; the fear being for various reasons. But even more than an interesting story line here is the light it shines on our society and our grief and coping mechanisms. Additionally, it questions just what our definition of life should be. Now, granted, I don’t see a story like this happening any time soon, but it’s really not a surprise that the Returned (as those who were dead but now aren’t are dubbed) are treated in some sectors as less than human. There is so much in this world that is evidence of the inhumane treatment of those living that I can’t say that I was really surprised by the events that unfolded in THE RETURNED.
I saw that THE RETURNED was also being made into a television show and, while I think that the concept would play well on the screen, it’s not something I would care to see recreated. While the story still lingers in my mind, it’s not a story that begs for me to return to it. Still, it was quite the interesting read and I can remember staying up late into the night to finish it.
Check out these reviews!
- “There’s so much to think about after finishing The Returned. Days after I reached the final page, my emotional reactions are still coming in waves. It’s definitely a book to check out.“ – Rather Be Reading
- “I highly recommend this book, it made me cry by the end of the story and also made me think throughout the telling of it.” – Just Add Water, Silly
- “So, I implore readers not to get so wrapped up in the how and why it happened but focus on the characters and their response to this life-altering experience. Highly, highly recommended.” – Jenn’s Bookshelves