The Returned by Jason Mott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
I rarely say this with any real emphasis, but this time I have to: This book is unforgettable.
Have you ever stopped and wished you could have someone you’ve lost come back for a minute, a day, any length of time so you could settle something with them? If you have, then this is the book for you.
This story captivated me from the first page. This story is such a surreal experience. At once, you believe that none of this could be possible, but then you wonder, could something like this happen, and if it did , what would you do?
The story of Lucille and her family was a touching one and I enjoyed all of the characters that were tied together through the opening of each chapter. This book reminded me that this world really is small when it comes to how interconnected our lives are. The way the author made these connections throughout the story were subtle, but effective. Read this book with a box of tissues nearby. Don’t say I didn’t warn you first. It isn’t sad, but emotionally moving is not quite a good enough description.
The only thing not 100% positive I can say about this story is that I felt toward the middle of the book there was a slight lag. It wasn’t terrible and soon passed, but I did feel there was a little spot there where it seemed the author wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next with the story and it showed in the shift of writing style.
I have to say, this was a case where my favourite person was not the main character. I was really impressed with the character Agent Bellamy. He is the type of character that displays compassion and makes you want to keep reading to find out what he does for the other characters in the book. I thought whilst reading this, that the author must have either modeled him after someone he loved, or after his own image, because he was so realistic and his traits seemed effortless that it was like getting to know a real person.
If you have been looking for a story that will resonate with you, raise questions and offer you hope that there really is no forever goodbye, this would be a perfect choice. I really enjoyed this. I will definitely be picking up a hard copy of this book to add to my personal shelf.
This review is based off of a digital ARC provided by the publisher.