Review: The Returned by Jason Mott

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Date read: August 16 to 25, 2013
Read count: 1

If you have ever lost someone suddenly, unexpectedly, and all those feelings are still fresh and open, then the last few chapters of this book will get to you.

I love when poets write prose because the stories they tell are beautiful in both form and subject matter. Poets understand language structure in ways non-poet novelists don’t (or can’t). They understand the importance of a single turn of phrase or choosing the right word for the right moment to tie the whole story together. Prose is more than a means to move the plot along or to pile on with descriptions of places and things; it’s a space to fill with people’s—not characters’s—most disturbing thoughts. These are the things we don’t get to see in other people—that we wish we could know—that are revealed in writing that makes narration so important in a story.

Jason Mott is a great weaver of simple words, basic sentences, and vivid depictions of various forms of grief, and his writing feels very grounded in reality. Once settled into the story, you don’t feel the pull of his writing, or the emotional depth of the story, until you find yourself deep in the heart of the problem and in the mystery of the returns. And then you begin to think about all the people you’ve lost over the years and whether or not they might return. And what would happen if they do.

The literary-awards, as well as film/TV-rights, buzz surrounding Mr. Mott and this book are well deserved. Personally, though, I hate when good books are turned into spectacles, but spectacles are their destinies these days.

To say anymore about it would be intruding on your experience of this book, should you choose to read it. In the event that you do, I don’t want to be the person to ruin it for you. (Other reviewers are doing a pretty good job of that already—ha ha… *facepalm*. There’s an html spoiler code for a reason, people.)

* * * spoilers below * * * 

But why only~ 4 stars? Because I don’t like the way events were wrapped up. Too made-for-Lifetime-movie for me.

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Just got the ARC in the mail. Can’t wait to start. I’ve been looking forward to this book for a couple of months now.

I’d like to thank the people at Harlequin Books for sending me a copy to enjoy.

—     —     —     —     —

Poets writing prose is probably one of my favorite literary things ever. Combine that with people returning from the grave for reasons yet to be known and I am hooked.

Original review can be found here.

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