Peggy Arthurs, October 5, 2013 (view all comments by Peggy Arthurs)
This book started out slow for me and I thought here's another one that I'm going to have to make myself finish. But curiosity kept me reading to see how it all got explained at the end and I'm so glad it did! A very emotionally stirring read. Gives you a lot to think on. What would you change if you got the chance to say goodbye again to someone you lost? The fear of the unknown, the behavior of mankind. So many different types of relationships explored in this. A teenage love returned, how does it affect your marriage? The family that was murdered and the murderer never found! How does that affect the whole town? A mother with dementia. Would you want them back in your life or would you shut the door on them? What if your loved one didn't return? Are they demons or a miracle? Good read.
karami, September 27, 2013 (view all comments by karami)
This book for me was a beautiful and emotional story with Harold and Lucille trying to come to terms in there own ways with parenthood being unexpectedly thrusted back on them. Harold in particular struggles as the one who found there dead son and buried him. He has said his goodbyes and is reluctant to engage with the boy. The books biggest triumph for me though was the personal feel of the story. Instead of concentrating on the the world picture and giving us answers why it instead concentrates on one little family and how they cope with it all. My only little gripe was with the pacing. While the beginning and the endings are first class it did tend to dawdle in the middle and for those less pacient may lose interest quickly. Overall this is an excellent read and would recommend to anyone after something a little bit different.
When Jacob showed up on his parents' doorstep after his death 50 years ago, you can imagine the shock. But was it really shocking that Jacob appeared when the dead were returning all over the world and this phenomena was the main story in the news?
No one knew what to do with The Returned. The town of Arcadia and all across America had the Returned filling up towns, and so they had to sequester them. Arcadia seemed as if it was being singled out, though, and the government was going to try something with this isolated town that they think might help with The Returned.
They used the schoolhouse to house all The Returned. It was not a pleasant place to be. There were too many people, the sanitary conditions were unacceptable, and people had to sleep on the floor or outside if they didn't have a cot of their own. Was this treatment a disaster waiting to happen? And why were The Returned flocking to Arcadia?
The book's premise is a bit strange and eerie, but unique. It is very frightening to think that governments were isolating The Returned from the rest of the world. It seemed as if there were a war going on between the True Living and The Returned.
All of this definitely made for an unusual book. THE RETURNED is a book that will have you questioning your faith, your government, and mankind. How could mankind do this to another human whether they were a True Living or one of The Returned? Everyone was affected and not positively.
It took a few pages to get interesting, but you will be glued to the book's pages to see what Arcadia will do next and what The Returned will do next. THE RETURNED definitely held my interest as well as made me cringe at what was actually taking place.
THE RETURNED had wonderful, detailed scenes and was very descriptive. You could feel the tension in the town, you could feel the unrest among The Returned as well as the True Living, and you could feel the hopelessness of living in the conditions set for The Returned.
The epilogue and the author’s notes at the end of the book will make you pause and do some introspection. Despite the book’s odd theme/plot, there is an indication that we need to express our feelings while the people we love are still with us. 4/5
This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in exchange for an honest review.
Harlequin MIRA -
Jason Mott, haunted by the death of his parents and his self-acknowledged inadequate response to those deaths, tries to reconcile his feelings in The Returned. In the small town of Arcadia — the irony of that name is perfect — dead people are suddenly alive again, just as if their lives started back up again at the moment of their death. Harold and Lucille open their front door to find their eight-year-old son — who died in 1966 — alive and well again. In fact, people all around the world are discovering the same thing. Before long there are so many of "the returned" that the government deems them a threat and forces them into "internment" camps.
Mott asks more questions than he could possibly answer: Why are they coming back? Are they alive? Are they real? Are they the same people they were before? Are they a miracle or a curse? What do they remember about death? What would I do to have my loved one back? With a nod to "The Monkey's Paw" by Poe, possibly the most important question Mott asks is: Do I still want them?
Mott has an MFA in poetry and that fact shines through brightly here. Carefully written in precise, clear prose, Mott delivers a profound debut novel that will make you think.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In his exceptional debut novel, poet Mott brings drama, pathos, joy, horror, and redemption to a riveting tale of how the contemporary world handles the inexplicable reappearance of the dead. The primary focus is on Harold and Lucille Hargrave, who lost their son, Jacob, half a century ago in a tragic drowning accident on his eighth birthday. Amid global rumors about 'the Returned,' their son arrives at their doorstep — with an agent from the International Bureau of the Returned — still eight and healthy, as if nothing has changed in more than 50 years. Locals have mixed feelings when Arcadia, their small, backwater Southern town, is inundated with soldiers and taken over as a refuge for the multitude of Returned who have nowhere else to go (not every family wants them back), and Mott ratchets up the tension. Are the Returned walking, breathing miracles? Or signs of the Devil and 'the end of times'? Even local Pastor Robert Peters cannot decide how to respond to these people, haunted as he is by the sudden reappearance of the love of his life, a girl who died as a teen. When some of the disgruntled locals take matters into their own hands, there is an apocalypse of sorts and both the frailty and strength of human character become evident; Mott brings depth and poignancy to the Returned and their purpose for existing. Agent: Michelle Brower, Folio Literary Management. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Monster of Florence,
"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."
by Eowyn Ivey, New York Times bestselling author of The Snow Child,
"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."
by Aimee Bender, New York Times bestselling author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake,
"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."
by Kirkus, 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."
by Booklist, 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."
by Library Journal (starred review),
"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."
by Shelf Awareness,
"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."
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