The Returned

The Returned

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All over the world, people's loved ones are returning from the dead. Exactly as they were before they died.

As if they had never left. As if it's just another ordinary day. Jacob Hargrave tragically drowned over forty years ago. Now he's on his aged parents' doorstep, still eight years old: the little boy they knew they'd never see again. As the family find themselves at the centre of a community on the brink of collapse, they are forced to navigate a whole new reality and question everything they've ever believed. No one knows how or why this mysterious event is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. The only certainty is that their lives will never be the same again.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 126 x 198 x 25mm | 480g
  • MIRA
  • Richmond, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1848452454
  • 9781848452459
  • 185,877

Review quote

"'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.' (Eowyn Ivey, Author of the New York Times bestseller The Snow Child)"
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About Jason Mott

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.
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Our customer reviews

Five minutes ago I finished “The Returned” by Jason Mott and, believe me, I had no intention of writing a review this fast. I rarely review a book right after I finish it, mostly because I like to take some time to allow the information, the emotions, and everything I experienced while reading it settle in. But, reading the author’s notes at the end of the book, so many thoughts came to my mind that I just had to put them down. I don’t know what I was expecting when I started on “The Returned”, but it really doesn’t matter now. Whatever I’d have expected from it, it would’ve been impossible to end up that way. I’ve read some reviews of this book, and most of them were raving. But there were two or three where people complained about it being too slow, or about not offering answers to burning questions. The way I see it, the book is based on a very simple, unimpressive idea: what if the dead came back to life? Not as rotten corpses, not as weird, confused people who didn’t know they had been dead, not as anything… Just came back to life the way they were when they died, and started living again like nothing had ever happened. Now, this could have gone two different ways, and none of them would have been very inspired. If the author focused even a bit on giving some kind of explanation as to how or why people woke up from the dead, the book would have probably turned into a fantasy novel of some sort, and much of the message and the emotion would have been lost on the way, blurred by made-up theories. On the other hand, if the author completely avoided these questions, which all readers hoped would be answered in the end, the novel would have probably ended up being too metaphorical and experimental. But the balance Jason Mott managed is perfect. By the end of the first half of the book I wasn’t expecting any logical conclusions anymore, although I was still paying attention to any possible clues that might have shed light on what was happening. “The Returned” doesn’t offer answers to any of those pressing questions – “Are the Returned people?”, “What makes them come back to life?”, “Is there a bigger plan behind all this?”, “Is it a disease? Is it science? Is it something supernatural? Is there someone who actually knows what to do with them?” –, but it does invite readers to find their own answers to so many other questions. I haven’t gone through the pain caused by the death of someone close, but I will eventually. It’s inevitable as much as we’d like this to be false. I assume that when something like this happens, we’d give anything to have that person back. And if, by some miracle, our wish was granted, then why wouldn’t others experience the same miracle? Following this train of thought, “The Returned” offers the image of a world that is simply not big enough for that many people. Things are turned upside down (have you noticed the cover?). The Dead want to live the life they never had the chance to live, and the Living are willing to turn this into a cause and give their lives for it. There are some people who want the Returned dead as they should be, but those are only the ones who have been refused the miracle everyone else received. People like Fred Green, who only wanted his young wife back. I don’t know what else to say… The book is brilliantly written. There’s suspense, mystery, even some action. Not much if you prefer fast-paced novels. It’s also original, confusing, and a bit dissatisfying. Yet, you get all the satisfaction you could ask for in terms of emotional charge, thought-provoking ideas, and unsolved matters that leave you staring into space. There were moments when I wanted things not to be so random, just like they usually are in real life. Maybe I wanted to see someone punished, but it wouldn’t have made any sense, because it was no one’s fault. Eventually, I wanted to find out that whoever killed Jim, Connie and their children (the first time) was someone from their own town, not a random stranger. But it was perfect the way it was. As a last thought… you know that writing “rule” that says you have to do your best to come up with a surprising first sentence in order to get your readers’ attention and hook them the moment they open your book? Well, I found a great example of such a sentence way past the first half of “The Returned”: "Here and there across the visiting area, the guards were separating the dead from the living. Visiting time was over." I guess you don’t have to write them at the very beginning. Just where they fit better. If I were to describe in a few words what this novel is about, then I’d say “The Returned” is about letting more
by Oana
Just before I went on vacation I received a package from the fabulous people over at Harlequin containing a hardcover copy of Jason Mott's recently released novel The Returned, and while I was away on vacation I actually had the time to read and it boy was it ever an experience. The Returned was like nothing that I have ever read before and I mean that in the kindest way possible. It was one of those novels that sounded so different, so unique that I was both curious to read it and worried I might not enjoy it because of how different it is from my usual reads. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be an amazing novel that will worm it's way into your heart and stay on your mind days after you've finished reading it. I thought the premise of the book was new, and fantastic. What would the world be like if the dead started returning from wherever they went, looking exactly the same as they did before they died? Would we treat them as people? Would they be classified as "Returned" and somehow much less than human? Perhaps, they would be more than human? The novel centers around one family the Hargraves in middle America. Harold and Lucille have been watching the news learning about the folks that are coming back from the "other side" when their own boy is found and returned to their doorstep. The problem? He's 8 years old and Harold and Lucille are in their 70's and so their lives are once again irrevocably changed for both better and worse. The story was beautifully written and I completely fell in love with the Hargraves. The dynamics between all of them was interesting to read about, and seeing how each of them in turn was dealing with all these new changes was great. Jason Mott created an emotionally intense read that captivated me so much that I read the book in one sitting. I just couldn't get enough of it. He made his characters so real and so life like it was hard to believe that they weren't living and breathing people. Overall, The Returned was an absolutely amazing debut novel and I commend Jason Mott for writing such a powerful, thought provoking novel that makes you question things and do some soul searching. I haven't come across a novel like this before and I'm so grateful to have been given the opportunity to read and review this novel and look forward to reading more from this author and am very excited to see how the upcoming television show based on the novel will turn out as well as looking forward to seeing where the next book will go. I highly recommend The Returned to people who want a book that will make you laugh, cringe, question your faith in humanity and restore it all in one 352 pages package. It was a really unique read with an awesome premise and had fantastic writing and characters. *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.*show more
by Kimberly Roy