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Review: The Returned – Jason Mott

08.03.13

The Returned

In the author’s note at the end of The Returned, the debut novel by American writer Jason Mott, he speaks of what it was that inspired his tale of life after death. Twelve years after his mother died, he had a vivid dream in which he came home from work, and his mother was there, waiting for him. He later discussed the dream with a friend, who then asked Jason what he would do if his mother came back for just one night;and what would happen if the same thing happened to others all. It was after this conversation that The Returned was born.

What follows is a tale that explores themes of morality, grief and life after death as it tells the story of Lucille and Harold Hargreaves whose eight-year-old son Jacob turns up fifty years after his death, exactly as he was on the day he died. In the midst of a phenomenon that is happening the world over; neither of them can decide whether it’s a miracle or a second chance at family life and opinion is divided in the small town in which they live as to what should be done with the ‘returned’.

With a captivating cast of characters and a thought-provoking plot, The Returned is a poignant read that makes the reader question what they would do were a loved one to return from beyond the grave. A beautiful debut from Jason Mott whose unique style of story-telling will no doubt cement him as one of the most impressive writers around.

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