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THE RETURNED by Jason Mott Kirkus Star


by Jason Mott

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7783-1533-9
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

The world, a community and an elderly couple are confused and disconcerted when people who have died inexplicably come back, including the couple’s 8-year-old son, whom they lost nearly 50 years ago.

No one understands why people who died are coming back. There’s no rhyme or reason, just a sudden reappearance of a massive population who were dead and are now alive, nearly exactly as they were the minute before they died. Some died a hundred years ago, some died 50 years ago; some are young children, some are senile old women and men. Considered by some the work of the devil, by others a miracle, the confounding reality is that an already struggling planet must abruptly support a staggering influx of beings who have typical human needs: food, water, shelter, sanitation. Globally, the cataclysmic event of their return brings about a spectrum of responses that reflects many facets of faith, spirituality, and the best and worst of human nature. Individually, many of the living must decide whether or not to accommodate the people they loved as they return to a world that has left them behind. Written mainly from the perspective of Lucille and Harold Hargrave—an elderly couple whose 8-year-old son, Jacob, returns to them decades after he died—and taking place in a small Southern town that becomes a regional coordination center for handling those who come back, this book offers a beautifully written and emotionally astute look at our world gone awry. At the center is a startling and disturbing idea, especially given how many of us wish we could have one more chance to see the ones we’ve loved and lost to death: What if many of them came back, all at once? 

Poet and debut author Mott has written a breathtaking novel that navigates emotional minefields with realism and grace.