The Returned – Jason Mott
Release Date: 27 August 2013
Synopsis: All over the world, people’s loved ones are returning from the dead. Exactly as they were before they died. As if they never left. As if it’s just another ordinary day. Jacob Hargrave tragically drowned over 40 years ago. Now he’s on his aged parents’ doorstep, still eight years old; the little boy they knew they’d never see again. As the family find themselves at the centre of a community on the brink of collapse, they are forced to navigate a whole new reality and question everything they’ve ever believed. No one knows how or why this mysterious event is happening, whether it’s a miracle or a sign of the end. The only certainty is that their lives will never be the same again.
N and I recently got sucked into the creepy, French zombie drama Les Revenants (which just concluded last week) and when I saw Mott’s book on NetGalley, I was instantly intrigued. Part of me had hoped that this would be the book version of the French show and that maybe I’d get some answers that the show hadn’t divulged.
It’s not the book version… I found that out pretty quickly after reading the synopsis. But I am glad that I requested the title as I devoured it in a day or two–it was even more addictive than Les Revenants. Mott pulls you in from the get go with Jacob’s appearance on the doorstep of his family home with Agent Bellamy after having been dead for over 40 years. He hasn’t changed, he hasn’t aged, he looks the same as he did when he was alive. All over the world, the dead are reappearing, often in strange places nowhere near home.
The Returned is more about the emotional fallout from the dead coming back than anything else. It’s about the fear that takes over the living as the population of Returned swells and grows to epic proportions. It’s about the struggle of the living to compartmentalise just what the Returned are. Are they human or are they something else? There are echos of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, with human rights being stripped from the Returned as they’re no longer classified as people. They’re not allowed to leave their homes and later they’re arrested and detained in “camps” for their own safety and the safety of others. No one is quite sure what to do with them or why they’re even back.
Mott’s book was very touching, emotional and at turns appalling with respect to way the Returned were treated. I even found myself openly crying on the treadmill in the gym as I finished the final pages. The Returned is gut wrenching and pulls at the heartstrings.
I feel very lucky to have read such an amazing, beautifully haunting novel.
(For those of you in the US, the book has been picked up by ABC to be adapted as a television series titled Resurrection.)
The Returned is out on 27 August and can be preordered online. Also on Amazon are free ‘prequels’ to The Returned for Kindle… who doesn’t like a free read? For more information on Jason Mott or his work, visit his website. He is also on Twitter.
I may be on a blogging break but that doesn’t mean you can’t get in touch! You can still tweet me at @stephanie_khani or @londondiaries1. Alternatively you can email me at emailthelondondiaries [at] gmail.com.