The Returned by Jason Mott

The Returned by Jason Mott
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Categories: Literary

“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. 

Jason Mott

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.

My Thoughts:

Before I’d read a word of this book I was excited by the premise. People returning from the dead? Crazy, right? Now, zombies and such aren’t my usual bookish milieu, to put it mildly. But this? This was a whole different kind of tale.

I thought this was such a beautifully sad story. It broke and warmed my heart in equal measure. There were times I was angry. There were times I wanted to weep. 

Most importantly, this book made me think. I couldn’t help but wonder about what the world would be like if these events actually happened. On a personal level I couldn’t stop thinking about who I would want to come back, if only for one more day. I’ve been chewing on these questions ever since.

Jason Mott shows just how marvelously complicated and fragile human beings really are. The Returned isn’t a book I’ll soon forget.

For more thoughts (and a different opinion) on The Returned please see this review from Monika at A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall.

38 thoughts on “The Returned by Jason Mott

  1. Luckily my sister got the Dutch version of this book, so she could review it on her blog, so I think I might read it too. Sounds like a great story!


  2. Aghh this is my next read, and I can't wait! Your review has made me all the more eager; I want to feel all those feels!


  3. People I know have been going crazy for the TV show The Returned recently and I was sure it was an adaptation of this book, the premise sounds so very similar, but I just discovered the two are unrelated and ABC have their own televisation of this book coming out soon! I wonder how it will compare. I quite fancy reading this, though, it sounds like such an interesting if spooky premise.


  4. Sounds like an amazing read, Jen. I've been looking forward to your review, or any review of this book, because I see it on so many \”what are you reading\” posts…


  5. I really want to read this one! I liked The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta about the people who were left behind after some type of rapture event, and this one seems to have a similar vibe.


  6. I feel like the concept of seeing someone you love again has the potential to be so poignant because it is both so specific and so universal. I'm off to request this book from the library!


  7. Wow, this does have an interesting premise! I also really love the cover. I'm not sure I'll try it though, as I actually don't like books that make me sad or angry. Funny, I'm just realizing that a lot of bloggers describe really great books as the ones that give them all of the feels and I don't think that's really what I look for in a book 🙂


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