The Returned by Jason Mott is a quiet, thoughtful novel about a phenomenon in which people who have been dead, some for many years, return to life. They are the same age and in the same form as when they died. The story revolves around Harold and Lucille Hargraves, whose son Jacob died at age eight more than 40 years ago. It is impossible for them to reject their son when he is brought to their door by an agent of The International Bureau of the Returned, or simply, The Bureau. But questions linger in their minds about who he really is and whether he could truly be their son, who drowned on his eighth birthday in 1966.
The Returned is an exploration of the many ways that people react to the unknown or what appears to be the miraculous. Some folks welcome their lost friends or family members; others are frightened of them; still others are filled with anger because their own loved ones didn't return. A major theme throughout the book is how the returned are treated by others or by the government. Civil rights issues are front and center as the returned are rounded up and confined to prison camps.
Harold, Lucille, and Jacob are memorable characters who will remain in your heart long after you finish this book. The Returned is being heavily promoted in Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, and other book review publications. I received my copy in May at BEA. This is Jason Mott's first book; he's someone to look out for!
The Returned was published by Harlequin Mira in 2013 (ISBN: 9780778315339)