The Returned

Mott, Jason

(Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Returned
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When their son Jacob, who died tragically at his 8th birthday party in 1966, arrives on their doorstep, still 8 years old, Harold and Lucille Hargrave must navigate a strange new reality as chaos erupts around the world as people's loved ones are returned from beyond.
Publisher: Don Mills, Ontario :, Harlequin MIRA,, [2013]
Copyright Date: ♭2013
ISBN: 9780778315339
Characteristics: 338 pages ;,25 cm


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I read this after watching a few episodes of the TV show "Resurrection" because I thought the premise was so interesting. Ultimately I felt like there were too many unanswered questions in the book. It's like the author also thought bringing people back from the dead was a great idea, but he didn't really want to get too heavily into the details of how it happened. I still enjoyed the book but felt like the author could have done more with the story.

Mar 25, 2014
  • Purdyhedgehog rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This book could have been so much better. It was as if the author had this truly intriguing idea, but didn't want to bother himself with the details. With a premise like this, it's the details, and answers to questions, that were foremost in my mind. I found that these were either skimmed over or totally ignored. BTW: if someone who was mysteriously murdered returned, wouldn't one of the very FIRST questions you would ask is "who killed you?"

Feb 25, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I'm not surprised that there are so many TV series adapting this book, or at least the idea. It's a neat one. People start coming back from the dead with no real rhyme or reason. The government first is trying to deal with the influx of people (there is an international agency dedicated to dealing with these people and getting them home if they're wanted) and then, naturally, people go a little crazy.

We stick with Harold whose eight year old son, dead since 1966, is one of the Returned. At first, when the events start happening, his wife thinks these people as devils while Harold doesn't really have an opinion. Once Jacob appears at their door Lucille embraces her son while Harold compares him to a photocopy of a person he once knew.

There's a lot of questions and not a whole lot of answers and that's whether we're talking about the Returned or the responses to them. There are people who don't want to meet the Returned, people who want them dead again, and people who just want to cherish them for whatever time they have them back for. It's a very human story and reminds us of that all important fact that we all tend to not think about: no one lives forever and we should cherish whatever time we have with those we love in whatever form we have it.

Jan 28, 2014
  • pattyloucor67 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Interesting premise: What of those departed suddenly began to return, just as they were when they passed away? It isn't as loving as it sounds. This novel explores what becomes of a small town when hundred of Returneds are relocated there. The story reminded me of Stephen King's Under the Dome. I'm not surprised this will soon be a TV series. The story moves slowly and the end doesn't necessarily resolve anything, but the author seemed to use this as a way to resolve the departure of his own mother.

Jan 06, 2014
  • larrybmovie rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

OK book, but the premise is the same as a Japanese movie called "Yomigaeri: Resurrection": the dead come back to life I can't decide if Mott came up with this independently or ripped it off, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I thought the movie was a lot better, though.

Nov 17, 2013
  • HelloJosephine rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

The premise was interesting, which is what made me want to read the book. I kept waiting for it to get better - the characterization was pretty lame. For me, the True Living just didn't.

"Long-deceased persons have been showing up, hale and hearty, all over the globe, causing consternation among folks who worry who's going to feed and clothe them. Jacob Hargrave died on his eighth birthday in 1966, but an agent of the bureau tasked with reuniting returned persons with their families has shown up on the Hargrave doorstep decades later, 8-year-old Jacob in tow. Jacob's parents, now in their eighties, must learn to navigate a strange new reality even as the world around them struggles with questions that range from the spiritual to the political. A great "what-if" novel, The Returned is a "beautiful meditation on what it means to be human" (Booklist)." Fiction A to Z October 2013 newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=691547

Oct 21, 2013
  • Mmc0119 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Makes you really cherish those around you and some pretty big questions about life and death. Great debut! Make sure to read his motivation for the story at the end

Oct 04, 2013
  • JCLBethanyT rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I can't decide if The Returned is gateway literary for genre fans or gateway genre for literary fans, but either way, it's one of the must reads of this year. With such a compelling premise, Mott has (and takes the time) to examine what life means to those who have it and those who have again. The effect is a book that's both gritty and transcendent at the same time.

Jul 17, 2013
  • lisabo rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

NetGalley Reviews

Terrific novel, great story. Mott's displays tenacity as a writer. The premise is original – a fair number of long dead individuals are returned to their family's by a government agency. The phenomena of the returned is seemingly random. The novel begins with Harold and Lucille and the return of their eight year old son half a century after he died. It's unknown if it's permanent or temporary or why it's happening at all. Mott's lets go of little details that don't matter in the scope of the story and puts his focus on what does matter – his characters. The premise straddles the absurd and that's kind of what makes it a brilliant read. We, as readers, know this is unlikely and completely implausible and that's a great recipe to test characters against. Chapters of other families with returned members are interspersed providing an interesting contrast of complicated and conflicting emotions. The novel treads ever so lightly into zombie territory as more and more people are returned and havoc increases, but this is where the novel really picks up and the story morphs from philosophical exploration into acting on instinct and heart. The ending wraps up the story with great emotion and satisfaction.
For readers who enjoy a philosophical bent and don't mandate an immediate page-turner. Readers who enjoy atmosphere and character development. Great fodder for book club discussion. Comparisons could easily be made for Tom Perrota's The Leftovers tinged with Alice Sebold. It reminded me most of Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere by way of Philip K. Dick's The Adjustment Bureau. Well worth a read.


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Jul 30, 2014
  • bixby rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

An 8 year-old boy who died 50 years ago has returned... along with millions of others around the world who had been long dead. It is NOT a zombie story but demonstrates what happens when the world is literally turned upside down for the "returned" and their families.


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