"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 healed 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 Hargraves find themselves 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, 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.
©2013 Jason Mott (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Positive reviews in Entertainment Weekly magazine always spark my interest to listen to said book on Audible. Usually spot on, not so for this one. The overall idea of the dead coming back at the same age, suspended in time, yet in the future is intriguing. If you watched "The 4400" on the USA Network in years past, you won't be surprised by the idea, but the two cannot compare. I cared about those characters and wanted to walk away from the farmer, his wife, and Jacob, but stayed for a visit waiting for some dramatic or even mildly interesting explanation that never came to pass.
Plodding along, "The Returned" introduces a newish idea and causes us to question our prejudices along with how society treats those who are different from the norm. I did enjoy the repartee between the farmer and man from the bureau. Mott is a good writer; story just sluggish and unsatisfying. Save your credit for another book.
Bi-Vocational Pastor/Draftsman. Full time husband and dad. Audiobooks are a staple in my life because I can read and work...
POSSIBLE SPOILER: Its not aliens... Its not demonic... Its not magic... Its not time travel... Its not the end times... Its not even addressed! Why are dead people returning? WE NEVER FIND OUT! This has a really cool premise and could have really been fun to explore, yet the authors note at the end explains the purpose of the book: THERAPY. So, after 10 hours of hoping, I reached the end with not one shred of venture into why all this happened. It was a complete let down. In my mind, a real SCI-FI novel plunges into the questions with explanations... however unrealistic and sometimes corny they might be. Nothing here. The most interesting thing was the ramifications of thousands upon thousands of additional people thrust on small town population. Pass on this one. I hope this helps. Later.
It seemed to drag on and was rather anti-climactic. I found myself getting excited for the next turn of events, only to be disappointed by the story losing it's momentum.
Disappointment. I was intrigued at the beginning as it reminded me of a Stephen King novel, but fell short of my expectations.
Willy Wonka of it
I enjoyed 2 of the 3 prequels. I thought they were setting the stage for something bigger, however it turned out they were just mini versions of the novel.
First, I should say that this is NOT a bad book -- it's just not a scifi book. The premise and promotion seem to be designed to hook in those looking for a great scifi tale, and this just isn't it.
Forgetting the above, it's a decent tale that tries to deliver multiple messages at once, and I appreciate that, however it falls very flat. There are a few tales interspersed that only have a vague impact on the main story, which is fine since the main story isn't really all that epic on its own. The story plods along, all the while you're hoping it gains steam. It never truly does -- perhaps this is the first in a series?
Either way, I'm not sure I could recommend this book.
I think for me this book left a lot of open questions. I started this with the first 3 prequel books which left me in suspension. I pre-ordered this book with hopes of continuing the story(s) from those short stories and answer a lot of the questions I felt at the time must have been saved for the full title. I was left with a lot more to be desired. Dont get me wrong the book is well written and flows together just fine, its just I wanted more out of it. I felt there could have been more easily added that could have made this book not only good but shine.
The author leaves you with a great message about love, memories and regret which is in itself worth it. I felt the ending was rushed however surprisingly satisfied once it was all said and done.
There is far more going on here than just a bunch of resurrections. This will open your mind to thinking about how you would feel, what you would do, and what you would experience if you had one more chance.
All in all The Returned is definitely worth the read/listen regardless of your belief in God.
After the two prequels, I was intrigued but ultimately the book itself was rather a let down. The writing itself was fine but I kept waiting for the story to go somewhere and it just meandered. The most disappointing aspect was that it just turned into another exploration of segregation and fear. The 'returned' could have been any minority group. Not nearly enough exploration into the whole idea of coming back. On the whole, very disappointing, especially after the prequels.
I listened to both this book and the three short story prequels that went along with it. The prequels really intrigued me. I loved them and could wait to get more. We got a little bit of that feeling in The Returned but it was drug out a lot more and the story got fleshed out a lot. I thought the characters of Harold and Lucille were well developed. In truth, I think that what The Returned is - a story about characters because there's not a lot of plot. But what characters they are. I enjoyed it a lot.
Tom Stechschulte is a great narrator. I don't recall ever listening to any of his work before but I think he was terrific here and he will be a definite selling point on future audiobooks.
Gets you thinking about losses you've have and if you never had them lost again
Married "Mature" Female living in St. Louis, MO. Love Fiction of many genres.
I liked the concept and I'm a huge Tom Stechschulte fan. The 3 preview stories grabbed my interest. However, this book fell short. It just didn't go anywhere very exciting and the characters weren't that interesting.
Sure, I'd love to hear your story....
I confess that all I knew about this novel was the premise before I downloaded it. The idea of people coming back from the dead was such a lofty notion I was completely intrigued, so I didn't listen to the "prequels" I went straight to the book. And I just loved it. It's a homespun tale told from the point of view of real people trying to take an incomprehensible idea and having to live it out with all the day-to-day consequences of their actions. I admire a writer who doesn't feel the need to have everything sewn into neat packages, who has good and bad guys that aren't easily discernable and who deals with the human-ness of our decisions rather than trying to teach a great moral lesson. This is one of those great books that with each section you have to stop and think: what would I do? - - how would I feel?
If you've had the experience of having loved and lost someone, if you're willing to let yourself go (which isn't an easy thing to do), you can get lost inside what these characters are feeling. That's always the sign of a master writer - - and this guy is a great storyteller.
"Can't ignore the obvious"
Got this on an Audible recommendation, but it might be last time I do that.
I understand that this story deals with a family during an 'incident', but there are glaring omissions that really weaken the back-story in my humble opinion. It's hard to care about the characters and their troubled emotions dealing with the 'Returned' when not a single person in the immediate or wider story suggests actually digging up a grave to see if the original bodies are still there.
That said, the writing is good and the reader does a good job. I just didn't connect with the story.
I waited and waited for something interesting to happen with this book but I was disappointed. Maybe a faster pace and more interesting plot would have improved things.
The narration wasn't great but it wasn't the main problem with this book, I would listen to another by this narrator if it looked like a good enough story.
I bought this after watching the french TV series with the same title (Les Revenants) and I was aware it wasn't the same story but was built on the same premise and it had good reviews so I thought I'd give it a try. The TV series was full of suspense and drama, with a serial killer returning to start where he left off, a child whose twin sister has grown up without her and a man who slowly comes to the realisation that he in fact committed suicide on his wedding day, while struggling to cope with finding out his fiance has moved on to a new man. This book had none of that. The pace was infuriatingly slow, the characters were dull and after waiting the entire time for something to happen, the climax of the book was predictable and boring. People come back from the dead, the government don't really know what to do with them all, they lock them up, some people are open-minded, some people are not, then it all kicks off, some people get shot, some property is destroyed and then the returned just vanish into thin air with no explanation for it all.
"Slow to grip but in floods of tears in the end"
It took coming back to the novel after a break before I became gripped. I had been intrigued by the premise and once I became attached to be main family, I was feeling everything they were feeling. The pain of losing a child and then that child coming back to you and not understanding why felt very raw and real. You could not help but love little Jacob. You know from the beginning its not going to end happily and the last hour or so of the audiobook I had tears running down my face. Then with the authors note at the end tears became floods.
Not a book to read if you want to be uplifted but definitely a book to give a go.
"NO NO NO NO NO"
I watched the tv series and really enjoyed it until the lousy end at which point i felt cheated out of several hours of my life which had clearly been wasted. Since the basic story was pretty good I thought I'd give the book a go however.
Well, it was ok. Didn't really grip the attention but it was ok. Performance was fine. Not outstanding but ok. I would probably have finished the book were it not for the fact that the author then decided to insult my intelligence. He introduced characters called Nico Sutil and Timo Heidfeld. Are we supposed not to know that these are the christian and surnames of four German Formula one drivers? Could the author not be bothered to think up any other German names? I once read a book in which two Naval lieutenants were lieutenants Chub and Dace and i didn't finish that one either.
So no. I won't be finishing this one and i won't be buying any more from the same author.
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