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, 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.
“Thought-provoking, occasionally dreamlike, and centered around the most charmingly irascible couple in recent memory…”
“In his exceptional debut novel, poet Mott brings drama, pathos, joy, horror, and redemption to a riveting tale…”
–Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Beautifully written and emotionally astute… Poet and debut author Mott has written a breathtaking novel that navigates emotional minefields with realism and grace.”
-Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
“Jason Mott is a voice to be noticed with amazing prose and the soul of a poet. The Returned is a beautifully written and haunting story that will sneak into your dreams and will touch your soul long after you have finished the book.”
–Calvin Crosby, Book Passage
“In this sparely written first novel, poet Mott posits intriguing questions about our uneasy relationship with
death. …A beautiful meditation on what it means to be human.”
–Booklist (Starred Review)
Jason Mott lives in southeastern North Carolina. He has a BFA in Fiction and an MFA in Poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction has appeared in various journals such as Prick of the Spindle, The Thomas Wolfe Review, The Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets, Measure and Chautauqua. He was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize award.
He is the author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and “…hide behind me…” The Returned is his first novel.
The Returned has also been optioned by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, in association with Brillstein Entertainment and ABC. The pilot is currently being filmed.