The Returned

The Returned

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*Starred Review* In this sparely written first novel, poet Mott posits intriguing questions about our uneasy relationship with death. Harold and Lucille Hargrave are stunned to find their eight-year-old son, Jacob, decades after the boy's death by drowning, standing on their front porch, along with Martin Bellamy, a government agent for the International Bureau of the Returned. All over the globe, the dead are returning to their families, causing massive confusion and a pervasive anxiety that countries will run out of room and the resources to care for the enlarging population. And the Hargrave family seems to encompass the spectrum of emotions that greet the Returned, as Lucille is overjoyed to once again cook and care for her son, despite her advanced years, while Harold is afraid of all the emotions that his son stirs up, recalling anew the anguish and grief he thought he had finally laid to rest. Mott brings a singularly eloquent voice to this elegiac novel, which not only fearlessly tackles larger questions about mortality but also insightfully captures life's simpler moments, as when a father and son earnestly discuss the finer points of how to tell a good joke. A beautiful meditation on what it means to be human. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews

Released by Mira Books on Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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