Friday, 27 September 2013

Mad Musing On 'THE RETURNED' By Jason Mott

The Returned
THE BLURB: 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 tempered 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 Hargrave family finds itself 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, award-winning poet 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.

MAD MUSINGS:  I picked this book up thinking it was going to be a grand adventure horror story.  It wasn't....  While it was an interesting concept - that the dead are all coming 'back to life', and, yes, there was strife and horror elements to it, it ended up being more of an examination of humanity.  Mott describes many different reactions to these 'Returned' people - from blind acceptance, to mass genocide, and they are all exactly what I can believe would happen in similar circumstances.  This global event is told from the eyes of an elderly couple who is suddenly reunited with their previously deceased 8 year old son.  Even though they had discussed what they thought they believed these returned people to be - it was interesting to see how their minds changed when they were actually in the situation themselves.   It makes me wonder what my reaction would be if I were them...... I like to 'think' I'd be in the 'it's-really-my-son' camp.... but.....

I liked the writing style of this book - although the story dragged a little in the middle for me.  It sure had an unexpected ending - and that's what made the difference, for me, about whether I liked the book or not!   What do you think you would do if this happened to you?

Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin for providing this review ARC in exchange of an honest review.

***.5 stars