music: mr.probz - waves
rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Review for Jason Mott - “The Returned”
I got through about 175 pages of this book before I stopped.
It starts off interesting and intriguing enough—long dead people, for some unknown reason, begin to come back to life. Why they have returned and how they become one of the Returned is never explained. The book makes it clear that they are not zombies, and that they look and function as normal people despite the fact that they’re resurrected. They just simply reappear years later, often half a world away from where they died, and the ‘Bureau’ returns them to their families. The book takes off with this and then, well….that’s it.
The majority of the story is told through Lucille and Harold Hargreaves, an elderly couple in rural America whose 8 year old son Jacob is returned after drowning over 40 years ago. Lucille happily picks up parenting where she left off, while Harold broods over it for several chapters. Their son Jacob is, well…Jacob. He tells corny jokes and eats his mom’s cooking. But that’s about it. He’s the boring-est resurrected person alive (literally). What is the author’s point of writing this novel if the main character at the heart of the mystery never says anything—about death or life or how they got there in the first place? The point where I stopped reading is when Jacob is eventually locked in an internment camp and is asked the same how-and-why questions by soldiers that he couldn’t answer from the beginning. If nothing behind the mystery of The Returned is ever revealed, what is the point of this? I figured…
I guess I expected more from this book. There was no momentum and the story fell flat. I wanted science to make an appearance, to say something (anything!) to make this book readable but it didn’t. None of the characters had any real life to them at all. Ugh.