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. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
“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.