Jason Mott’s ‘The Returned’

TheReturned_fc_hires.JPGIn his debut novel, poet Jason Mott offers a unique take on that genre staple involving the undead. In this case, he imagines that the deceased mysteriously start popping up around the world, looking no older than the day they died. Jacob Hargrave, who died on his 8th birthday in 1966, awakens in a fishing village in Beijing — then finds his way to the front porch of his old home in Arcadia, N.C., where his stunned parents are now in their 70s. Mott, whose book inspired an ABC series (Resurrection) set to debut early next year, is less interested in the horror-movie aspects of his premise than in the philosophical and sociological. It soon becomes clear that a sizable number people are unsettled by the new arrivals both for their threat to the natural order as well as the possible depletion of resources as the numbers of undead increase. Though the climax veers into conventional thriller territory, Mott distinguishes his novel with lyrical prose and refreshing thoughtfulness. Read my full B+ review at EW.com

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