What would you do if someone you loved, someone who meant the world to you, who made your life complete…died?
What would you do if fifty years later that person showed up on your doorstep—never having aged, without any recollection of where they had been?
That is the very dilemma facing Harold and Lucille Hargrave, who lost their son Jacob to drowning in 1966 when he was eight years old. When Jacob appears on their doorstep fifty years later with an FBI Agent, “returned” from the dead, the elderly couple find themselves unearthing old hurts, long since patched over with the trappings of everyday life as they struggle to deal with the phenomena. Is this Jacob really their son? How has he come back? Is it a sign from God? As more and more of the dead return, the entire world finds itself asking the same questions, with devastating results.
The Returned is part science fiction, part family drama, part philosophical treatise on human nature. DelvingThe Returned such an engrossing read, one you can’t help but discuss and mull over for hours after the final paragraphs.
deep into groupthink and the human psyche without forsaking a genuinely riveting story, Pushcart Prize-winning author Jason Mott creates a narrative that is compelling and heart-wrenching. As the story unfolds readers are literally held captive by the questions that arise with a plot of this nature. You find yourself wondering how such an series of events could occur—is it God, Satan, is this the rapture—but in reverse of what we’ve always thought, has the world gone mad? As the people of the world break into groups both for and against the Returned dead, family members turn against once dead loved ones, and the Returned are relegated to internment camp-like facilities, it is nearly impossible to figure out how a book like this could possibly end. The sad revelations regarding human warmth and understanding, and our capacity to cause harm to others out of fear is remarkably present here, but Mott also manages to show our great ability for compassion—a Jewish family risks all to hide a group of young Nazi soldiers killed in World War II only to Return to a new world, a townswoman hiding an entire Returned family in order to save them from the camp, a son who watches over his Returned dementia-ridden mother—all examples of our capability of showing love, even when the rest of the world is descending into a manic paranoia. It is this dichotomy that helps to make
As a reader I love sharing books, and discussing them, but I can honestly say that I have yet to have a book discussion quite like the ones I’ve had following The Returned. From concepts of faith, to morality, philosophy, and the frightening actions that arise out of fear; The Returned keeps you on your toes, and further, stimulates in a way that goes beyond the intellectual, touching your heart and moral soul. This is one book that is guaranteed to get you thinking and talking, and will leave your breathless in the end.