"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.
The characters and how your opinion of them changes.
Definitely when the initially meek wife takes control.
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.
Love espionage and detective stories and the fallen angels series by H R Ward.
The way it was presented
His voice is enthralling
Yes. The author's notes at the end.
I read the book with no emotions and wondering why the author had taken the time to write it and wondering if I should return it for credit. At the very end I was in tears as I realized that this same situation happened to my departed mother. This book made me understand why, as a child, I had felt unloved by my mother. My brother drowned when I was six months old and my mother first blamed my older brother then must have blamed all her children as she seemed unable to love us. I can now forgive her for this although she has been gone for some years. I love you Mom and can now forgive you.
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'm a corporate training consultant and adjunct professor who loves to read! I'm always looking for the next big thing.
Imagine a world in which the dead start coming back to life. They have no memories from when they were gone; they simply start appearing all over the globe. This is the premise of Jason Mott's novel, The Returned. Prior to reading this novel, I read the three prequels, so I was very excited to see what the book had to offer. I was not disappointed.
The focus of the novel is on the Hargrave family, Harold and Lucille. Their only son, Jacob, died in 1966 when he was only eight years old. Now, the Hargraves are elderly, and their eight-year-old son has returned. He's still eight, and he has no memory from the time of his death. Harold and Lucille have very different opinions about their son's return. Lucille believes that he is a gift from God. Harold doesn't believe it's really his son. Even so, Harold continues to act as if he were his son.
In addition to the Hargrave family, the book also touches on some of the characters that were introduced in the prequels. My only disappointment with this books (and the only reason that I didn't rate it five stars) is that those other characters' stories are not as closely connected to the novel as I had hoped. I recently learned that this book (and its prequels) has been optioned for a television series. I am hopeful that more of the stories can be told in the television series.
Although the book focuses on the Hargrave family, it also looks at how the returned are affecting others around the globe. In particular, the question of what to do with the increasing number of returned is a critical plot point. The government (in its infinite wisdom) has decided that the returned need to be rounded up and placed in what could only be called concentration camps. The town in which the Hargraves live becomes one such camp. How the returned are treated there introduces a tremendous moral dilemma. Moreover, there is a battle between the returned (and their supporters) and the "true living," who do not believe that the returned are actually living. In a way, there is a type of civil war brought about by the appearance of the returned.
In many ways, this story shook me to my core. I was frequently questioning my own values and beliefs while reading the story. What would I do if one of my own family members were returned from the dead? It was a question that kept going through my head as I was reading. While I do not believe that I will ever have to face that reality, the question is still disarming. Because of my own shaken beliefs--and because of the characters in the story--I was in tears by its end. In my opinion, that is a sign of a great story. I highly recommend this book, and I am looking forward to the television series.
I listened to the first 3 previews...they grabbed me. So I bought the book. Not exactly what I had hoped for but a deep thought provoking novel. The narrator was good. He kept me interested in what he was reading.
Good job Jason.
Character, humor, and drama witten with intelligence and heart, from fantasy to non-fiction is what I'm after in a great listen.
I really did. The First free short story was inviting. The next two, good. The actual novel though written quite well, fizzled for me. The story bottomed out and left me flat. There were so many places to go, but the author chose to freeze time and not take the story to any daring places. I feel like I already know what was revealed. I feel as though most of us already know it very well, so no new light was shed. No revelations.
The story of everyone's dream; deepest desire--the return of deceased loved ones.
A confirmation that others feel the same way as I do.
The author has taken a dream and expressed it into a hope, a memory, yet the horror of "what if".
One of the best books I've ever read.
What a great premise! I had hoped and thought it would explore really interesting and difficult questions about how we view death, and what death is and what there is or is not beyond life. It seemed like these issues would be explored, but I felt that they just got basically ignored in favor of a strange mixutre of matter of factness and stereotyped character types. I guess I enjoyed the story but was left very dissatisfied- really no questions were answered, and far too few were even discussed. The end was kind of not even there. What was the author's message? what did he want to leave in our minds and hearts to consider and either agree with or reject? If the answer is just- "I have no idea, form your own opinion" then...I could have done that w/o reading. Sorry to sound so negative- I would read another book by this author, but hope he would think through the bigger issues and use them to inform and frame the story a little more effectively.
I wouldn't have read the book if I hadn't seen the TV show, but I'm glad I did. It was a great story and a good narrator.
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