Read the returned by Jason Mott Online


"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 comfortab"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 healed 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 Hargraves find themselves 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, 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.©2013 Jason Mott (P)2013 Audible, Inc....

Title : the returned
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 17658905
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the returned Reviews

  • Faye, la Patata
    2019-05-29 00:01

    I am still at a loss for words. It's amazing how the stories of fictional characters can push you to look deep within yourself, encouraging you to find your own answers to the same questions asked. Very rarely do I feel so connected that my heart bursts with emotions so raw and intense, that my soul feels broken but also warm and complete at the same time. Reading this book was a unique and uplifting experience, and I kind of understand why it had a bidding war for film rights. It's that good, folks. It's that good.In this book, there's a crisis. The world is encountering a phenomenon never seen before. The dead are returning, unaged, looking as they were when they died, confused and oftentimes treated less than humans. Instead of following one person's story in a line, we get to see other people's lives, too — how they took the news of a deceased loved one coming back to them, what they have felt about it, and what they've learned from it. It shows a web of relationships where one's little story is related to another's, and as a reader, we learn something from each and every one of them. And that, somehow, makes everything a wee bit harder.We mainly follow the lives of Harold and Lucille Hargrave, whose 8 year old son, Jacob, arrived on their doorstep, their son who 50 years ago drowned at a nearby river. For fifty years, they've lived on without their child. It's been a hard journey, but they survived, and meeting their son again was like fate giving them a chance to remember how it was to enjoy life and its simplest pleasures, to love again, to forgive, and to let go.Sure, the world-building is a bit sketchy, and there's a bit of plothole in which it was never explained why the Returned came back, but I didn't care. The whole book gives you this feeling where there are just some things that can never be explained, some things that are best left just as they are and appreciated for what they are. That sometimes, we just need a little bit of faith and hope, and find meaning in it. I don't know, but you can say it made me think about things a lot. About my life. About my relationships with other people. It made me philosophize about the meaning of life. After turning the last page, I choked up and felt an urge to go to my family and friends to say I love them and that I'd risk my life for them.Until now, whenever I think about this book, I can't help but feel teary-eyed. The impact was just too great.I'm not going to say a lot about this one to you guys. You'll have to read it and find your own answers and interpretations; let the magic come to you in its own way. It's very powerful, emotional, and poignant, with stunning prose and real characters whose feelings and hardships are not hard to empathize with. Human nature can be scary, but at times, it can be so beautiful, too. Thank you, Mr. Mott, for writing such a masterpiece. Needless to say, in one way or another, my life was changed.Let it go, Harold. Love him. Then let him go.An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my thoughts in any way.PS: The trailer of the show is here.

  • Rebecca
    2019-06-01 23:43

    This book doesn't just have a sagging middle--it has an enormous beer gut.The set up is intriguing -- what would happen if dead people started returning to earth. Not zombies, but just returning? The book takes that interesting premise and then...nothing. Most of the story is told through the Hargraves -- an elderly couple in Mississippi who's son Jacob drowned 50 years ago. Now the 8 year old is back after mysteriously appearing in China. (This weird location problem is something else that is never explained.) Lucille wants to pick up where they left off, Harold's not sure what to do and Jacob ... how can a resurrected person be boring? But Jacob is. He has nothing to say about death or the afterlife or why he returned. None of the newly resurrected do so what's the point of the book then?We get hundreds of pages of Harold and Jacob being locked up in an internment camp by soldiers who have no idea what to do except ask questions that the Returned can't answer. Lucille cooks a lot and goes to her church for answers, never finding any. Science doesn't even make an appearance in this book. Surely someone is trying to figure things out but we never see those people.There's no momentum to this story. None. I only finished to to see if the author would provide some kind of explanation or closure but there wasn't any and none of the characters had any spark to them, not even the living ones.Not recommended.

  • Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
    2019-06-07 06:51

    There's this line in The Returned that can describe my mood throughout the book....but mostly the soldier only stood-or sometimes even sat- at the barricade, looking either very detached or very bored, depending on the lightning at that particular moment.Depending on the POV at that particular page, I either dozed or just skimmed through the pages. No, not really. It's weird but I can never skim through anything; I just gotta take it ALL in, no matter how constipated* or uninterested I feel. *Yeah, constipated!I believe the problem here lies with me. I couldn't feel for these characters, I couldn't sympathize, much less empathize with them. With no child, no dear departed, no beloved, I still do have a vivid imagination. Yet, this story barely moved me. More than halfway through the novel, I was literally looking out for the last pages. However, besides the main story of the Hargraves and their Returned son, the main characters of the novel, there were little snippets of other Returned's(as they are called) that got to me. Guess, I'm not so stoic after all.There was this girl whose parents didn't want her even when she was alive; and the senile woman who was simply proud of her son, the Nazi boys who died in one war and woke up to instigate another; the priest in love with a dead girl and the family whose only fault was their murder; also, the artist who came back to find the woman who brought him back long before.And the final one of Jacob's.These stories, and many others, of barely two-three pages, affected me in a way that the main story never did. The short escapes into various lives/un-lives were brimming with raw realism and had a fleeting tender quality that, I felt, was lacking in the main story. The fact that they didn't need useless, endless 'telling' of emotions, that they gave a provided a wider view of the tensions in the world, probably worked in their favor. As it turns out, sticking through the book paid off. As in, negative paid off, but not as adverse a negative as it was before. As in, lessened negative. As in, ah- what the hell! Like, my interest was -15 before and the last few hundred pages made it -4 or something. It's either the seditious baseness of my nature, or maybe the reader in me prefers action and locomotion, but the last few hundred pages pleased me. Not to spoil the book for you or anything but *ahem* Who wouldn't love her? Okay, maybe her grandchildren and the person at the end of that gun.The writing didn't work for me and consequently, Harold and Lucille never reached out to me. It was less of a storytelling and more like a recital of... something- something really boring! It never engaged me, despite the promising premise. Lucille was a flat character from the beginning and with very little personality. On the other hand, Harold had a good start and indicated towards being/developing as a character of depth but the delivery wasn't efficient. His personality and dimensions were lost a few chapters into in the book. As an instance, take Jack and Mabel from The Snow Child(fabulous book, btw. you haven't read? you make me so sad)- similar circumstances, but the characters were so much more realistic and colorful. These two weren't. Considering that Jason Mott's an established poet, I just expected a bit more 'showing' of emotions in the prose, again like Eowyn Ivey managed so perfectly. Moreover, the constant shift in POV's in every paragraph was confusing, at best, and disorienting, at worst. The lines tell us about the child and affinity for hiding and how he's looking at the colonel for a few lines, then the next few paragraphs are devoted to describing how the colonel is feeling, before jumping back straight into the boy's head again.Still, I think I just might check out the author's short stories. I certainly hope so. On the whole, I have no clue who I'd recommend this book. I guess, you have patience? Human heart? A bit of something special that I don't? Well, you're in luck! This just might be your book.A review copy was provided by the publishers.Crossposted on Books behind Dam{n}s

  • Navessa
    2019-06-17 23:45

    For the first time ever, I’m giving a book I DNF three stars. This is not a bad book, it’s well written and on many levels, it’s a fascinating read. But…meh. I guess it’s just not really for me. This book is, at its heart, a character study. The thing is I couldn’t really bring myself to care about the characters. Mostly this is because I have no desire to discover the inner secrets of a preachy elderly woman obsessed with vocabulary and good manners. Nor did I want to spend a couple of hundred pages learning about her emotionally retarded husband or her creepy back-from-the-dead son.The Returned might focus a lot on death and those that have been returned from it, but really, it’s a book about life. It’s about Humanity in all its guises. It also has some pretty powerful messages. It makes you realize how easy it is to say things, to form an opinion about something that’s happened to someone else. And then it happens to you and you find out what you’re really made of. Are you a liar? A hypocrite? The characters in this story find out those very things about themselves and like all good books, this makes you discover the same about yourself. I’d recommend it for anyone in the mood for a slow burn or an in-depth character study.

  • Andrea ❤Ninja Bunneh❤
    2019-06-15 00:58

    I'm going to attempt to write a review that makes some sense. Forgive me if I go off on a tangent or two. It can't be helped in this case. I almost walked away from this book only a few chapters in. I couldn't handle it. Not because of the writing, because of myself. My mother died 6 and 1/2 years ago. My daughter was 3 at the time, my middle son was 7 months, and I was 5 months pregnant with my other son. She died way too soon and too young, missing her grandchildren growing up. My daughter pretends to remember her to make me feel better, but I know she does that for me. My two sons obviously don't remember her at all. So, any memories I have of her are mine alone. Her death, and the sadness that suffocates me sometimes are mine alone to carry as well. I built a wall and try to keep any emotions regarding her behind it, but it has cracks and emotions slip through. Over the years I have often wished to have one more day with her, even a few hours. Time where I could say things I never did, but should have. Time where my kids can meet her again, and then be able to remember the wonderful person she was. I feel robbed, angry, and just sad at times. Some days I want my mommy. Now, this book. This book took my emotions and tore them open. It follows the story of an older couple who lost their son many many years before in a drowning accident. One day he comes home. So do many other people who died long ago, some not so long ago. This is not a book filled with action. It echoes the style of The Green Mile by Stephen King. It's a tale to be told, to be woven, not rushed. It's designed to get under your skin, and into your mind. You are drawn into the lives of the main characters, but also into the lives of others who appear in small snippets along the way. I fell in love with Mr. Mott's writing. It is indeed, poetic. I wrote a review a few weeks ago on another book that I loved. I said that sometimes you don't get answers to questions, but that you don't need them. This is another one of those. You never discover why the returned have come back, or how. I was so afraid this would become a religion based book, but it never did. If you read Mr. Mott's author's note at the end, he states that he didn't even have the answers. This book also touches on the darker side of humanity. People often fear what they don't understand and the consequences of that can be catastrophic. It just leaves the question - if you could have one day more, one week more, one hour more, with a person you have loved and lost, only to lose them again, would you do it? Yes. In a heartbeat.(Buddy-read with Litchick)

  • Neil (or bleed)
    2019-06-20 02:11

    "Some folks locked the doors of their hearts when they lost someone. Others kept the doors and the windows open, letting memory and love pass through freely. And maybe that was the way it was supposed to be".The Returned didn't wow me. Hence, 3 stars. It felt short for my expectation. But it doesn't mean that this book is bad. It wasn't. It's just a case of "it's not you, it's me" again. I am looking for an intense attack about the concept of this book that when the author gave me a silent kind of narrative and storytelling, I was less enthusiastic reading this. And it didn't manage to stir a great deal of emotions in me. Even it should've been. I've been waiting for the surge of feelings to hit me hard but it didn't came.I was detached with the characters. I can't feel their anger, sadness, worry, dread, fear, etc. at all. I can't feel them. That is why it took me days to finish this book. Yeah, the writing was so good but it haven't evoked my inside feelings to get invested with the characters. The only thing I perceived to them is probably their different takes on this whole the-returned-of-the-dead fiasco. Some accept it and thinks it's a miracle and some think otherwise.Nonetheless, I still find this book a good read, mainly, for the writing (even I said earlier that it didn't evoke emotions in me) since it was almost lyrical and beautiful to read. It was silent and suits the mood of the novel. The concept was also brilliant and thoroughly told. Heck, it didn't have any solid world building or a concrete explanation but it doesn't matter. I was swept away by the writing's alluring nature that I felt like the returning of the dead is a natural thing, as if it happens everyday. And the fact that the last part really redeemed the whole book for me. I was contented even I was a bit disappointed.

  • Lauren Henderson
    2019-06-06 05:50

    I received an advance copy this book for free in a GoodReads FirstReads giveaway.I'm slightly torn about this book. The story line idea behind this book is a great idea. Also, I love how the author switched chapters with telling the story from the view of the "True Living" and the "Returned". I also loved the ending with respect to the emotional issues of Jacob's parents. Those are the good things I can say about this book.That being said... I never really completely got into the story. The writing style just doesn't flow well, and I felt there could have been better description of events and personalities. But that could be because I really enjoy classical style writers who tend to sometimes be overly descriptive. Another problem I had was that there was no true resolution of the government's involvement in controlling the Returned, and there was no resolution of the purpose of the Returned. This may be the first time I have ever felt this way but... I believe this book would translate very well into a movie. Mostly because a movie would add to what is already there. I hope that the sequel will complete the story. If that ends up being the case, I would be completely satisfied with this story.Read more reviews at Great Minds Read Alike.

  • Phrynne
    2019-05-26 04:55

    I liked the idea of this book but in the end the author did not do enough with it. I wanted to be involved with the characters but they were not sufficiently rounded for me to be interested. And to be honest not enough happened. I read it, I quite liked it and then I moved on. Three stars is actually very generous.

  • Leanne Ellis
    2019-06-16 03:00

    Two and a half stars. When I began this book, I loved it. Loved the thought-provoking premise. Loved the poet-turned-author's delicious use of language. (His passage about Lucille and Harold and her use of the word flippant had me laughing out loud.) I had that deeply-satisfied-with-life feeling that comes from knowing you are reading a great book. Except then I got bored. Harold and Lucille are great characters. I enjoyed their individual quirks and the way they interacted as a long-married couple. Jacob, their son, on the other hand, seemed like a shadow of a character. I kept wondering if the author did this on purpose because Jacob was Returned, or if the author just didn't know how to write a well-rounded child character. Having finished the book AND read the author's note, I'm still not sure why Jacob fell so flat. But it wasn't just Jacob. The plot got itself all kinds of stuck and then it stayed there straight to the end. And some of the really interesting philosophical and practical questions that naturally arose from such a thought-provoking premise were either not explored or were discussed without any satisfying depth.

  • Steffi ~mereadingbooks~
    2019-06-01 05:00

    What happens if everyone who ever died returns? How does humanity react? Who or what are these Returned? Are they the same people they were before they died? Are they people? These are interesting questions that are addressed in this novel. Its premise sounded to me like the perfect set up to meditate on death and what happens afterward. But also to show various reactions to something some might call a miracle and others the end of days – and again others might call a scientific oportunity. It enables a discussion about the role and value of religion, science, and government in today's society. And gives an excellent example of the way we – humans, that is – want our problems to be solved by some higher power - be it God or Government. Sadly all the question-raising and thought-provoking happens in the background, off-stage, so to speak. The plot advances so slowly and the characters remain fairly flat, the novel just could not keep my attention. I started skimming and did never get that nagging feeling of having to pick up the book every free minute.I did not even finish it. I might skip ahead and have a look at the ending. I also might just forget about it though. The problem is not that I need my stories to be action-packed and fast. However, if a topic lends itself to spiritual and philosophical questions I also expect a writing style that is able to convey the poetry of things (unless I am reading non-ficiton). This is especially the case in a debut novel by a poet. I had high hopes for The Returned, maybe they were too high to be met.Still, I want to end this review on a good note. The main plot line of the son who returns fifty years after his death is interspersed with short snippets of the other Returned. These glimpses at what is actually happening and how the whole situation affects individuals and is dealt with by the so-called Bureau were the interesting part. They are beautiful and touching and sad. They are a hundred times better than the main plot. Maybe Mott should stick with short stories, he seems to be brilliant at them.

  • Jane
    2019-05-25 05:10

    Where I got the book: passed on to me by a friend. Well, it was offered at a book club meeting and I POUNCED.In his Author's Note, Jason Mott tells us that the genesis of this novel was a dream in which his deceased mother was sitting at the table waiting for him when he got home--as if she'd never been gone--and they simply talked together about what had happened since her death. I too have had dreams where I engage in quite ordinary activities with long-dead relatives, and I welcome them; it's nice to have a chance to see them again.But supposing they all started coming back?The Returned takes this premise and underplays it beautifully. The focus of the story is Harold and Lucille Hargrave, an elderly couple so far moved on from the death of their son Jacob in 1966, when he was eight years old, that Harold momentarily forgets Jacob's name when he turns up on his doorstep in the company of an agent from the Bureau of the Returned. Their little Southern town of Arcadia becomes a hotspot in the government's attempts to contain the tide of new-again humanity.The Returned come back exactly as they left, with no memory of the space between their death and their new life. The phenomenon is never explained. For some of the True Living, as the never-been-dead come to be known, the return offers healing, reconciliation or the chance to settle unanswered questions about what a relationship really meant. For the rest of the True Living the Returned present a threat as they turn up in ever-increasing numbers, putting pressure on land and resources that the living regard as theirs.How could I resist this premise? And I loved the way Mott handled the story; completely believable, never predictable. Harold, Lucille and Jacob are beautifully drawn and the writing is superb and at times very moving. Lucille is religious but Harold is not--not since Jacob's death--allowing the author to explore different sides of the mystery of death. I loved both characters with their cantankerous old-people opinions overlaying the people they were before Jacob's death; that sense of an older person's body somehow containing the younger you was rendered very poignantly.Often I'll start a book with a great premise only to have the author disappoint me by the end, but it didn't happen here. I've been looking forward to reading this since I first heard about it and it was worth the wait.

  • Barbara
    2019-06-07 06:00

    One day the previously dead start returning, not as zombies, but exactly as they were when they died. One returnee is 8-year-old Jacob Hargrave, who drowned 30 years before. He shows up in China, and after being processed by the 'Bureau of the Returned' is brought back to his now elderly parents - Lucille and Harold - in Arcadia, Missouri. Though a bit befuddled, the Hargraves take in Jacob and care for him. Another local family, the Collins', all of whom were murdered, also returns to Arcadia and takes up residence in the church.Some townsfolk support the returnees but many are frightened, hostile, and want them gone. Moreover, when the initial trickle of returnees becomes a flood the American government turns Arcadia into a holding site and starts busing in masses of returnees. This type of situation is mirrored all over the world as more and more undead show up. The holding camps are okay at first but soon become overcrowded, dirty, and foul-smelling. The local clergyman in Arcadia, Pastor Philips, encourages patience but 'the real living' want to know what's going on, and they want to know now! Unfortunately, no explanation is forthcoming. The situation soon spirals out of control with dire consequences. The book is at least partially a treatise on how people deal with death - can they mourn the dead and move on? can they accept returned loved ones? returned strangers? a world where there may be no death? I thought the story had intriguing characters and it kept me interested. I was anxious to see what happened next and to find out how the returnee phenomenon was explained. In that I was disappointed because the phenomenon was not explained at all. Thus, though I enjoyed the story, I was left with a feeling of dissatisfaction (though I expect there will be a sequel to the book).There is now a TV series based on this book (called Resurrection) and I'll be curious to see it.You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-05-27 00:51

    This book is being heavily promoted and is now in production for a television series. It is a book that raises so many questions. The dead start appearing, (not a vampire or Zombie in the bunch, thank you Jason Mott) an eight year old boy who drowned at the age of eight, fifty years before is delivered to his now 70 yrs. old parents. The dead are the same age as when they died, at first this is looked on as miraculous but this soon begins to change.It raised many questions for me. I had been very close to my grandparents, if they appeared on my doorstep how would I react. That is the main premise of the book, because of course as more and more of these dead people keep returning the ugly comes out in many people. The government and the military get involved, had to know that was coming. Are these people miraculous or unnatural, demons in fact? Why when we fear something that is different most they be either or, is there not a middle ground? The town of Arcadia in North Carolina is turned in to a battle ground, but this is happening everywhere in the world. They actually staged a reading flash mob for this book and I really love this idea. I think the thing I liked best about this book is that the ending is not fed to us, it is not absolute but maybe left up to the reader based on what side of this happening they would have fallen. Quite different, quite good.

  • Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
    2019-06-21 04:08

    To call this Young Adult will limit the audience, I think. This was fantastic, and so very different from anything else I've read this year. The Returned is a very different book from what I'd usually pick up, but I was intrigued when I read the premise.This book wonderfully explores what would happen if the dead returned to life, and the situations it presents are so real and so believable.This book does have an awful lot of religion in, but it is never, not once, pushed in your face. Christianity just happens to be Lucille's faith and she turns to faith when she needs help.The end of the book is thrilling and shocking and just altogether breathtaking. It ends beautifully.

  • Mimi
    2019-06-23 23:44

    If you have ever lost someone suddenly, unexpectedly, and all those feelings are still fresh and open, then the last few chapters of this book will get to you.I love when poets write prose because the stories they tell are beautiful in both form and subject matter. Poets understand language structure in ways non-poet novelists don't (or can't). They understand the importance of a single turn of phrase or choosing the right word for the right moment to tie the whole story together. Prose is more than a means to move the plot along or to pile on with descriptions of places and things; it's a space to fill with people's—not characters's—most disturbing thoughts. These are the things we don't get to see in other people—that we wish we could know—that are revealed in writing that makes narration so important in a story.Jason Mott is a great weaver of simple words, basic sentences, and vivid depictions of various forms of grief, and his writing feels very grounded in reality. Once settled into the story, you don't feel the pull of his writing, or the emotional depth of the story, until you find yourself deep in the heart of the problem and in the mystery of the returns. And then you begin to think about all the people you've lost over the years and whether or not they might return. And what would happen if they do.The literary-awards buzz, as well as film/TV rights buzz, surrounding Mr. Mott and this book are well deserved. Personally, though, I hate when good books are turned into spectacles, but spectacles are their destinies these days.To say anymore about it would be intruding on your experience of this book, should you choose to read it. In the event that you do, I don't want to be the person to ruin it for you. (Other reviewers are doing a pretty good job of that already—ha ha... *facepalm*. There's an html spoiler code for a reason, people.)But why only~ 4 stars? (view spoiler)[Because I don't like the way events were wrapped up. Too made-for-Lifetime-movie for me. (hide spoiler)]—     —     —     —     —Just got the ARC in the mail. Can't wait to start. I've been looking forward to this book for a couple of months now.I'd like to thank the people at Harlequin Books for sending me a copy to enjoy.—     —     —     —     —Poets writing prose is probably one of my favorite literary things ever. Combine that with people returning from the grave for reasons yet to be known and I am hooked.

  • Kealan Burke
    2019-06-10 07:04

    Anyone who goes into Jason Mott's THE RETURNED expecting zombies, or a story typical of that subgenre, will be sorely disappointed. Nor would I call it a horror novel. What's here instead, is a beautifully told drama which just so happens to feature as characters people who've come back from the dead. There are no dodgy sci-fi explanations for this, no peculiarly colored comets or spilled barrels of mysterious chemicals--the dead just come back, and they do so looking exactly the same as the day they died. For the most part they are happy, although not oblivious to the strangeness of their return. But rather than focus entirely on The Returned (though I loved the short chapters which singled some of them out), Mott (rather wisely) chooses to focus on us instead, and how we might react should the ones we've loved and lost suddenly return willing to pick up as if no time has passed at all. And considering the vagaries of human emotion, it isn't long before conflict arises.The RETURNED is a beautiful and tragic novel, a mediation on grief and loss and love. Well-plotted, exceptionally well-written, and moving to the point where I'm writing this through misty eyes, I can't recommend Mott's debut highly enough. A powerful and important piece of work.

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    2019-06-12 04:46

    Actual rating, since GR douchily refuses to allow half-stars: 4.5 StarsAt BEA, Harlequin was really pushing The Returned. The publicists were all really excited for it and recommending it highly. While a bit interested, I was also skeptical, because, hey, they're publicists and pimping the more highly marketed titles extra hard comes with the job description. Well, in this case, they were right. The Returned is slow-moving, but elegant, graceful and thought-provoking.The Returned is not going to work for every reader, though that's not surprising since no book does. I suppose what I mean to say is that it will be a tough read for many. The pace of The Returned is slow most of the way through, though there is some serious speed right at the end. What Mott's really digging into is the concept, so it's a very philosophical read, a brainstorming of what such a strange occurrence could result in. If you need books packed with action and excitement, The Returned will not do that for you. Sure, it's people coming back from the dead, but it's not zombies and there's no mayhem or brain-chomping.In The Returned, Mott puts forth this concept: people who died begin coming back to life. They don't all reappear, nor do they necessarily seem to appear in the location where they died. None of them remember anything between their death and returning to life, and they are all the precise age that they were at the time of their demise. All memories seem to be intact. Scientists can find no rhyme or reason in why anyone is returning and why some do or do not return.Using a family in the small town of Arcadia as an example, Mott depicts the spiral of society into chaos and hatred as this phenomenon occurs. As one might expect, there's a lot of discussion of what it means to be human and what the Returned really are. These people died but now here they are. Is it the same person or a different one? Should they have rights? The ethical concerns are fascinating.Mott also looks at the possible logistical issues with regards to the Returned. Since they pop up in seemingly random places, like Harold and Lucille's son Jacob who appeared in China, there's the difficulty of sorting people back to where they belong. More of an issue, though, is what to do with all of these Returned if the formerly dead begin to outnumber the true living. The government doesn't know how to handle the situation, and the public is torn between hatred and fear of them and joy and hope at having lost loved ones back.What this does to interpersonal relationships is my favorite aspect, of course. A situation like this begs so many questions: if a person remarried after the spouse's death and the spouse Returns, what happens? What if two teenagers were deeply in love until one of them died, and, now the dead one Returns still 16 with former love so much older? If they had sex would that be statutory rape or a whole new situation? In pretty much every way, no one has any clue how to deal with the Returned. It's scary and confusing and hopeful and worrisome.If you're wondering whether The Returned is right for you, I point you to those hypothetical questions. Do you find the consideration thereof a fascinating enterprise or do you think that such speculation on something so utterly unlikely and illogical is pointless? If the former, read away. If the latter, probably not, I'm sad to say. The Returned lives in the hypothetical, and the beautifully simple writing likely will not be enough to save the novel for you if you simply do not care for that.However, despite the fact that I loved the intellectual exercise, the writing, and that the ending almost made this hard-hearted reader cry in a public place, I did have a couple of issues with the book. First off, I think it's a bit ridiculous that, at least towards the start, there was never any move to put The Returned to work, except for the one famous artist. I mean, come on, if there are more people then there will need to be more stuff, so there need to be more workers. Obviously. Also, I'm not a really a fan of how the book wrapped up, which, sadly, I cannot explain without spoilers. I just felt like it was sort of a weak and anticlimactic way to do it. I get why, as that ending is more poetic, but I thought it a bit too simple. Though I have nothing against romance novels, I am really excited to see Harlequin broadening their horizons with titles like The Returned, especially since they're doing so with such great books like this one. Patient readers who adore high concept reads that will really make them think need this book.

  • Michael
    2019-06-10 07:11

    The Returned by Jason Mott has been one of the most anticipated releases of the year. With an intriguing storyline and a tv series rumoured to be starting in the new year that all add up to big news and for the most part it lives up to my expectations.Imagine if a loved one who had died decades before suddenly returns home and is just as they were day they died. This is what happens to Harold and Lucille who have there 8 year old son Jacob reappear in there lives 50 years after his death. In the years after Jacobs departure they have both done there best to come to terms with there grief and come to terms with life going on. Now both are in there 70's and are not equippped to be running after a young boy. Jacob is not quite the same as he once was as he barely sleeps and eats alot while Lucille who is devoutly religious once thought of the returned as an abomination. Now with her son back she wants to keep him while Harold know his son is dead but reluctantly accepts Lucille's wishes.Around them the world is going crazy with fear at what is happening and with the uncertainty of it all. People want to know why these people are now returning. Answers that not forth coming even from the returned themselves who describe as to not knowing what it is like to die with no in between death and returning. Riots and protests erupt all over the globe while in America the government builds a facility near Harold and Lucille's house to inprison the returned. This and rumblings from locals threaten to destroy the reformed Hargrave family.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.

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    2019-05-27 22:44

    3.5 StarsWhat would you do if a deceased loved one showed up on your doorstep? That is the question that Harold and Lucille have to wrestle with when their 8 year old son shows up looking exactly as he did when he died back in 1966. Is he truly their Jacob or is he possibly a specter? Is he pure and good like the little boy they lost or is he something dark? Is it possible for Harold and Lucille to turn this boy who looks so much like their son away and, if not, how can this couple in the twilight of their lives ever handle raising a small child?In what may possibly go down as one of the best bait and switches in history, “The Returned” was absolutely NOT what I expected. While there are zero references in the publisher’s synopsis of this book being a “zombie tale”, I still spent a good 100 pages totally creeped out waiting for the other shoe to fall and "The Returned" to become total True Living brain-eaters. With that being said, if you want a zombie book, this isn’t one and just cross it off the to-read list (if you’re anything like me you’ll never be able to finish that list anyway so marking one off might not be so awful).However, if you can wrap your brain around the idea that “The Returned” is not a horror story, but rather a modernized “It’s a Wonderful Life” about second chances with loved ones dead and gone, this book might be up your alley. Filled with likeable characters and real emotion, “The Returned” was a breeze to get through in a day. The premise was so completely different from any other book out there right now (which might explain why my brain was trying to send me the subliminal message it was going to be scary) and was truly refreshing. Jason Mott has true promise for future success with this as his debut novel.

  • Barbara Sissel
    2019-06-17 06:10

    What would you do if, one day, you opened your door to find a person standing there who had been deceased for years. Not just any person either, but someone you loved, a child, your mother, your great-grandfather. This would not be some zombie facsimile, no. They would be real, warm, breathing, and alive in a way only the truly living can be. This is the situation that is happening when the story of THE RETURNED opens. Lucille and Harold’s son reappears in their lives just as he was on the day he drowned. He’s eight-years old. They’re in their seventies. Imagine it. It’s so compelling to think about such a thing and a little unnerving. Who among us hasn’t lost someone whom we ache to see again? It would be lovely to have them restored to us, wouldn’t it?Or would it? It isn’t an easily answerable question. There are several other questions threaded into the story Jason Mott has written. He has peopled it with characters who are as compelling, as layered and vividly drawn as his premise. They’re people you might meet. Perhaps if you live in the South, you’ve known one or two just like them. In the small southern town of Arcadia, where THE RETURNED is set, the folks are divided on the issue of what to do about them. And then there’s our government. Things always tend to go a bit haywire when they get involved.The Returned is available now for pre-order (I was lucky enough to get an advance reader copy. I know people!) to be shipped in August, and I’m here to tell you that you’re in for a treat. It’s beautifully written, poignant, warm, human. It will make you laugh outright in spots, and it will bring you to tears in others. And in case you haven’t heard, Brad Pitt’s production company has a television pilot based on the novel in the works. Once you read the book, you’ll know why. It’s perfect, absolutely perfect for the venue. I can only hope they capture the elegance and beauty of the story Jason has written.

  • Jill
    2019-06-16 02:41

    One of the many joys of being a GoodReads member is occasionally winning an advance copy of a sought-after new book. So first, I’d like to thank GoodReads FirstReads for the privilege of reading The Returned before the general public.That being said, this is a very hard review to write. How do you review a book that you strongly suspect will be a real winner for a large audience…but you do not feel part of the intended audience? I guess, with candor and honesty.So let’s start with the good stuff. There is no doubt that Jason Mott can write. His writing flows like a knife through butter – engagingly, beautifully, even poetically in places. Going one step further, this is a definite YA crossover, which means that both adults and their teenagers can equally enjoy it. And, among the themes it with well is our universal experience of loss and how we respond to it.The premise is this: all over the world,people’s loved ones are being returned. The story focuses on one particular family, Harold and Lucille, whose only son, Jacob, drowned before his eighth birthday party. Now, half a century later, he’s returned to them, exactly as he was the day he died.But who is Jacob, really? Is he a religious symbol of redemption? Is he the devil incarnate? How do people accept what they don’t understand? The plot does not focus on answering these questions as much as it explores what occurs as a result of these “returned.” And what occurs is fear, fighting, government meddling, internment and building tension.The obvious next question is, “Why didn’t I love it?” For one thing, I could not accept the premise as (to quote Lucille) a “blessing from God.” Or, as the town pastor says, “I would argue that ultimately, everything of the physical world is rooted in the spiritual. God and the supernatural are the roots from which the physical world grows. In spite of all of science’s advances, in spite of many disciplines and theories, the flashing lights and buzzers of its modern phalanx of technology, the biggest questions – how the universe began, what is the ultimate fate and goal of humanity – remain as unanswered now by science as they always have been.”As the book progressed, I came to believe that this is Jason Mott’s belief…but as a nonbeliever, it is not mine. I was surprised that the characters accepted The Returned so quickly and easily. I was seeing an overlay: science, supernatural, something to tether the story. Incredibly, most people rather quickly accepted “The Returned” as part of the End Times.In some pivotal ways, The Returned reminds me of The Lovely Bones (another book everyone loved but me). I felt I was manipulated into a sort of “feel good” narrative where life and death are blurred. By saying so, I realize I am revealing more about my own biases than I am about the book itself.If you loved Lovely Bones – or Tom Perrotta’s book The Leftovers, on a similar theme – by all means, read this. If you don’t need to dig too deeply to enjoy a book, read this. And finally, if you’re seeking lovely prose with a YA crossover appeal, read this. My star rating only reflects my own personal reading experience.

  • Nicole
    2019-05-30 23:44

    I really love stories whose premises involve mysterious resurrections and worldwide chaos as the result. This story is not your typical story of the rise of the undead, so if you're expecting horror or zombies, search elsewhere. This story intrigued me from the get-go and I was committed to loving it. But the reality of my reading experience is that I was bored and the pages turned were turned in the fervent hope that something really cool that could explain the return would be there. It never was. Reading the author's epilogue and his inspiration for the story, I found a completely different story potential than what this book actually is. Way too much time is spent on the details of the makeshift prison. Too many details I wanted to see explained or at least explored were simply passed over. Why are there unending numbers of Returned? What are the details of their stay, their behaviors, their disappearances? Things that were very lightly brushed upon, but never a satisfying in-depth look. I enjoyed the characters and their development. I could sense the tension between Harold and Lucille, and I could taste the disappointment in the pastor and his wife's marriage. It was all very palpable and it's ridiculously clear that Jason Mott is a talented writer.But I was left with the heavy burden of unresolved questions and dissatisfying resolutions. I think Mr. Mott should write a story based on the dream he wrote about in the epilogue and build on that premise instead of the overanalyzed mishmash of details we were served in The Returned. Nonetheless I am looking forward to the tv adaptation!I was provided this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

  • Scarlet Wilson
    2019-06-06 04:08

    This is the kind of book that grabs you from the first page and can't put down. I read this book in one sitting and think it is truly fabulous.This book is fundamentally about human nature. I don't want to give anything away other than what's on the back cover. An elderly couple open their door one day and find their 8 year old son standing there. Only problem is their son died 50 years ago on his 8th birthday. How they react and how the people around them react is fascinating. Other people who have died are returning ( no historical figures, no Cleopatra or Queen Victoria here, this is ordinary people returning from the dead, in the same way they were just prior to their death). The momentum that builds in the book is gripping, just as it is building around the world as they try to cope with The Returned.The religious issues are dealt with very competently. There's nothing to offend, just a 'no-one understands what's happening' theme. This stops the book been drawn into an area which could have spoiled the story, which as I said, is fundamentally about family and human nature.A real joy to read and very thought provoking.

  • Cathie
    2019-05-31 00:08

    I happened to catch the premiere of The Returned on A&E, which prompted me to request the novel. Although I hadn’t watched Resurrection on ABC – which I believe is up in air if the series will be renewed – this series is loosely based on this story. The story begins with a couple in their sixties, Harold and Lucille, and the events that take place when their eight-year old son, who passed away on his birthday in 1966, shows up at their front door escorted by Martin Bellamy, a government official. The question the government asks of the couple is would they like to keep him. Interspersed within this story is a brief story of others who have returned – from all over the world – and what transpires. Jacob, for example, had ended up as a returned in China. Harold and their son Jacob end up in a detention center. For months. I don’t know about you but I could not have been able to stand for them to be detained at all, especially if my son returned after all these years! And neither did Lucille. I could not help but feel for those whose loved ones return and what they had to go through as mobs formed. And then there were those whose loved ones didn't return. In the end for those who returned, it was a sense of being and letting go. This was an inventive tale and towards the end was bittersweet.

  • E.A.
    2019-06-12 23:02

    "The Returned" is a debut novel with an excellent and disturbing premise. What if “…all over the world, people’s loved ones are returning from beyond”? It’s a powerful idea with an immense emotional and logistical scope – from the painfully intimate repercussions upon individuals to the frightening global implications for countries and cultures. What a great notion! Regrettably, the magnitude of the premise is part of my problem with the novel.It is a risky decision to constrain the breadth of such a premise to the small platform of a single backwater town and the lives of the few rural families still living there. I can appreciate the desire to simplify a story to a few isolated characters in order to afford the time to go deeper into their lives, but if you’re not careful, you may asphyxiate the plot. I fear that is what happened here. As I read the pages, I felt confined in the small, faded, Southern town of Arcadia. The entire outside world of rising chaos was reduced to clipped news reports and a few allusions to dark events happening far away. Granted, there were brief chapters that tossed me fleetingly into the minds of other returned individuals in other locations, but these glimpses did little to relieve the claustrophobia of Arcadia. After a while, I felt as if I was wearing blinders, forced to follow a pre-determined path. What I really wanted to do was look around, ask big questions, and see what was really going on in other places. The push and pull between what I was reading and what I wished I was reading turned into frustration.In truth, the book seemed slow to me. It rarely developed much momentum. The action and emotions were understated. The style was distant and cool. Everything seemed to run counter to what I expected or what I had hoped for.I liked the characters. They were well developed, and I cared about them. I just felt that their experiences, in the end, were insufficient to bear the weight of the premise. Obviously, the decision of how to tell a story is an author’s choice. In this book, it was decided to restrict the story to these few people in this tiny town, and ask us to extrapolate that experience to the rest of the world. I am simply pointing out, that for this reader, it didn’t work.Another aspect of the storytelling that bothered me was a pattern of withholding critical facts about characters or situations that just felt manipulative. Obvious initial questions, for example, that would be immediately asked of most returning dead people, were either never asked, or asked too late to be credible. Questions like: Where were you? What do you remember? Who are you? Or, in the case of a formerly murdered family, Who killed you?Unfortunately, my focus on the negatives have overwhelmed my review up to this point. I don’t want to leave an unbalanced impression. There is much to admire in this book. Mr. Mott’s writing is highly skilled and he fashions delightful moments of great power and insight, shock and depth, pathos and intimacy. It is a book worth reading.Two of the most effective sections, for me, were the Epilogue and the Author’s Note. The Epilogue effectively resolved a number of issues, both for a few of the main characters and for the returned themselves. The Author’s Note beautifully explained Mr. Mott’s worthy motivation for writing the book and his sincere hopes for what the story can do for its readers. I can say, as many others have already said, that the story does make me consider what it would be like if my departed loved ones suddenly came back one day. The premise remains as thought provoking as ever, but the novel, ultimately, is unsatisfying.

  • Kat
    2019-05-30 05:42

    Reading the synopsis of The Returned, you could be tempted to call this a zombie novel. After all, people returning from the dead are the essence of zombies, but even if there is that similarity, The Returned is definitely not what I would call a zombie story - and I'm completely OK with that.Instead, The Returned is more of a study of humanity - biases and bigotry, but also love, memory and connection. The central characters, Harold and Lucille, aren't easy to get to know, but they are intensely familiar because they are so ordinary and could be anyones parents, grandparents or neighbours. When their son, Jacob, returns after dying nearly 40 years ago, Harold and Lucille have very different reactions but welcome their son back into their lives as if no time has passed at all.And although neither of them are particularly unique, as characters they are easy to like and to understand. Their actions and reactions feel right, and match their personalities and beliefs, and because they are so ordinary they are easy to relate to (as much as you can relate to someone whose son has come back from the dead).There are also flashes of what happens to other 'returned' and their experiences on re-entering the world, and I found these infinitely fascinating, although at times confusing and they did seem to become less and less as the book progressed.The plot is actually fairly slow-moving, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but there were times when my attention started to waiver - I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the situation in their town intimately but there were occaisonal lulls which I found difficult to adapt to. There are also a lot of unexplained plot lines, things that seem to just fade into the distance and I was left with quite a few unanswered questions, however there are some prequels being released shortly which should hopefully give a little more insight into the world.What The Returned does do exceedingly well is raise a lot of moral and ethical questions - how would you react if someone you loved came back from the dead? Many of the characters in The Returned find that their reactions are not exactly what they would have expected, or that their reactions cement the type of person they are deep down, and also made me question what my own reaction would have been.As a debut, The Returned is impressively written, moving and intricate, and I'm excited to read more of Jason Mott's work in the future.

  • Mish
    2019-06-03 00:07

    I didn’t see the TV mini series of The Returned - I believe it was called Resurrection - but I had seen numerous ads, so I had a general idea of what I was in for. It starts off exactly how I remembered from the ads. 8-year-old Jacob Hargraves, died over 30+years ago, returns to his now elderly parents with a government official; alive and well, no change to his appearance, age or manner from when he died. But Jacob is not the only person this has happening too. All over the world, dead people are suddenly re-appearing; returning to their families and no one - not even the government - knows how they’ve come to be there, and/or what to do with them. The religious town of Arcadia, where Jacob lives becomes the central location. The community view of the returned are divided, and arguments become heated at times. Some believed they are inhuman and should be put to an end, while others believed it’s a work of god – a miracle. I found the concept to be really imaginative. Mott told the reader that the idea of the novel came to him from a dream he had of his deceased mother who returned to him; sitting at the kitchen table were they just talked about times before her death. The dream played on Mott's mind. He imagined what it would be like to REALLY have a loved one return to you, even if it for a short while. What would you do? What would you say to them? Before I reached the half way point, I thought I could really see the likes of Stephen King or even Dean Koontz dreaming up a novel like this. But unlike King and Koontz, who would most likely add a touch of the bizarre and evilness to the plot, Mott pace and message about the returned was consistent until the end, and was gentle and deeply felt. His clear message was relating to people and society and how they react to things they can’t explain.The Returned wasn’t what I expected but enjoyed it nonetheless. Thought provoking novel. It made me think how I would react in the same situation.

  • Snotchocheez
    2019-05-25 23:00

    Though the premise seemed a little derivative of Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers, Jason Mott's The Returned had the potential to much more entertaining. The novel certainly delivers a creepy, imaginative scenario, though I couldn't get over the feeling that this mostly served as a bare-bones template for something greater. (As it turns out, it served as the source material for ABC's series "Resurrection").Where Perrotta imagines a world subjected to the effects of a Rapture-like event removing folks at random, Mott's tale takes a somewhat reverse approach: What would happen when dead people come back to life and return to their families? Mott could've done so much with this idea; instead, The Returned only focuses on one family in fictional Arcadia, North Carolina, when a couple's son Jacob, who died at 8 years old back in 1966, comes back to the couple 45 years later, still 8 years old but now with incredulous septuagenarian parents. He adds to it a bit of Malthusian limited-resources paranoia (or, more probably, rightist xenophobia) when the population of these Returned folks starts spiraling out of control and the government starts rounding them up into Gitmo-esque detention centers (or, perhaps, like 1940's Japanese Internment camps). Though the dialogue sizzled with sharp, often snarky dialogue, the strong premise didn't make up for a lack of plot variation, so while the novel was fun to read, it never quite soared like I hoped it would. Mott's extremely talented (and the novel getting picked up for adaptation so soon after being released is a big indicator of that talent). I'm looking forward to reading more by him.

  • Bandit
    2019-05-28 02:06

    Some years ago I watched and sort of liked a tv show based on this book. Not so much that I continue watching it and at any rate it only lasted two seasons, but I did want to see what happened and so I thought I'd check out the book. Funny thing is that you don't actually find out, not in the way I was after. Mott took an extraordinary event of the dead randomly coming back to life (and being treated with acceptance, kindness and understanding the world in general and small towns in particular are so known for treating something different or something they don't understand...yes, that's sarcasm) and used it to frame a small story set in a small town...and I just thought there'd be more to it. Apparently Mott didn't, he deliberately chose to concentrate on personal dynamics over the grand scheme of things and he did it quite well, but this is just a case of unmet expectations. Adding to the fact that the beauty of small southern towns remains a mystery to me. I think a lot more might have been done with the story. It's nicely written, Mott is also a poet and it shows in the subtle beauty of language, it reads easily and fairly quickly, but it was just sort of kind of like building a spaceship and traveling to Missouri in it. The originality of the premise wasted or at the very least left dramatically underused. Should have been more exciting of a read.

  • ☙ percy ❧
    2019-05-25 03:42

    all offence but is this fucking plagarised from Les Revenants??????????????????????????? honestly i thought The Americans* were bad enough with their fast and furious 17713 or whatever the fuck number we're on, and now authors and TV companies are LITERALLY PLAGARISING other TV series??? come the fuck on. you can't convince me this is a coincidence, it even has the same fucking name. there's a difference between gaining inspiration from something and full on copying the storyline.maybe this is well-written but i'm not going to read it. seeing as the idea is LITERALLY STOLEN, it's a no from other news Les Revenants is a literal masterpiece and all of y'all need to watch it now. *no offence to Americans in general, it's just that big American corporations and Hollywood etc. seem to have an originality drought lately and it's pissing me off.