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The Returned Hardcover – August 27, 2013
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"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." -Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Monster of Florence
"Jason Mott's impressive debut novel...is a tense and touching treatise on life, death and life again."
- USA Today
-Entertainment Weekly, Summer Must List
"In his exceptional debut novel, poet Mott brings drama, pathos, joy, horror, and redemption to a riveting tale." -Publishers Weekly, 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."
-Kirkus, 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."
-Booklist, starred review
"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." -Eowyn Ivey, New York Times bestselling author of The Snow Child
"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." -Aimee Bender, New York Times bestselling author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
"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."
-Library Journal, starred review
"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."
About the Author
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.
Top customer reviews
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A thought provocative book which causes the reader to think about their immediate and extended families. And, as Lucille said "normal moments were the ones that mattered most".
The premise of this book is most poignant to me. I kept questioning "what if" as I read along through the pages. Perhaps it hits closer to home for me as I have lost all of my immediate family - parents plus siblings. And, what I wouldn't give to see one of them for just a few more minutes one day. I certainly would not object to seeing them at a younger age, either... Love, live, laugh and enjoy life for today as tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Most highly recommended.
The descriptions of people are excellent in this book,.
As for the story, I got caught up in the lives of the Returned and those of the living they touched. As a reader, we’re introduced to numerous Returned . . . some are only briefly introduced, their stories short, others are quite involved. I liked the brief snippets the author used between longer chapters to highlight the lives of different Returned.
Jacob Hargrove, the young son of Harold and Lucille, died thirty-two years ago. His story is the key focus of the novel and how his reappearance affects those around him. Not just his parents, but the lives of others he touches -- either directly or through what he is . . . one of the Returned.
I was a little concerned by some of the reviews I’d read that stated the reason the Returned come back and why they eventually leave is never explained. I thought I would be disappointed not to have that information included. But once I started reading, I found that omission inconsequential. The focus of The Returned is on the lives of the characters and what occurs because of this amazing phenomenon. Are there questions that don’t get answered? Yes. Are there threads not completely wrapped up at the end? Yes. Did it matter? No. The ending made me question and think, which is precisely what I anticipate the author wanted.
I did find the sections related to the internment camp draggy. A little went a long way. That section consumes most of the middle of the book, to the end, with nothing really happening. Much of it felt repetitious. Other than that, I enjoyed the story, found it thought-provoking and touching. I will definitely seek out Jason Mott’s next novel.
So the makings of a book are there. But the books focus seems to be on a cruel and irrational government that is more than willing to overcome individual rights and established laws to maintain some sense of order. It kind of goes off the deep end in with that theme. The "man's inhumanity to man" business is pretty well worn. And there's no resolution left in the story for the things we want to know: how do we deal with our need to "fulfill" our obligation to the dead and where is that spark of eternity in every person stored?
So the book's set-up gets you reading, but in the end you get very little of what set you reading to begin with. I just felt very sad at the end. I hope the TV show doesn't go in this direction. It seems to be concentrating on resolving mysteries that only "the returned" can solve. If the military moves in, I'll stop watching.
Most recent customer reviews
The dead are coming back to life. Not as zombies or ghosts or any other form of 'undead' supernatural creatures, but as themselves, just as they were...Read more