The Returned

by Jason Mott | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0778317072 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 9/23/2017
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, September 23, 2017
I found this softcover in a local thrift shop, and picked it up for another release copy.

I'd been curious about the book since seeing a few episodes of the TV series based on it, Resurrection, which had some plot elements in common with John Ajvide Lindqvist's Handling the Undead.

While I rather enjoyed the setup and concept - it would be VERY unsettling to have a long-lost loved one show up at the door, apparently unchanged - I found the overall feel of the story a bit too vague. Oh, there were some dramatic and definitive bits, from the interwoven snippets of stories of the Returned around the world, some of whom had relatively good reunions and others... not so much, to the revelation of secrets that, ordinarily, would have been lost along with the dead. And some of the main characters did, eventually, achieve some manner of closure or resolution regarding their grief over lost loved ones and guilt over their own actions. There were also plenty of hints as to the more horrifying acts committed against the Returned - even in the quiet little town that's the center of the story, things get out of hand, and in other parts of the world the official response to increasing numbers of Returned is, effectively, to "re-return" them from whence they came.

But despite all of this, the story felt very slow, and never did resolve the origins of the Returned. Not that I insist on tidy wrap-ups to all the books I read, but there are times when leaving it hanging is just not satisfying. And as this particular event/plague/miracle/whatever had a number of completely impossible aspects, it made the whole book into a fable - again, not necessarily a bad thing, but I didn't find it satisfying. [Granted, not everyone would wonder, as I kept doing, whether the original bodies of the Returned had been resurrected or if they were still in their graves; a few brief mentions in the book suggested that the original bodies were no longer in the graves, but while this added a nicely macabre note, it was never in the forefront of the story.]

This book does have a lot of thematic similarities to Handling the Undead, from the short-lived phenomenon to the explanation that's basically "some kind of miracle" (this has more detail in Lindqvist's book, where the whole thing seems to be an accident of cosmic bookkeeping, whereas this book suggests that it has to do with settling unfinished business) to the mixed reactions of the living who have to cope with the returning ones: joy, disbelief, horror, wrath... But I preferred the way that Lindqvist handled the idea, though even there the resolution didn't completely satisfy me.

Very atmospheric story, though, and one that certainly made me wonder what I'd do in the same circumstances - and made me glad that I'm not likely to have to {wry grin}.

[There's a TV Tropes page for the TV series, with references to the book and to a similar but unrelated French series.]

Released 1 yr ago (9/25/2017 UTC) at rest area - Rte. 93 (see release notes for details) in Hooksett, New Hampshire USA


I left this book outside the diner at the southbound visitor center/rest stop off I93 in Hooksett; hope the finder enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2017 September Sapphire release challenge. ***

*** Released for the 2017 TV Series release challenge. ***

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