The Returned

A very special book came out today: The Returned, by Jason Mott. I rarely step in and make recommendations on your purchases (as evidenced by that Hawaiian shirt with the blue flowers, purple stripes and American flag on it you own) but I must say – nay, demand – that you must head to the nearest bookstore of your choosing (on the internets, I’m sure, so you barely have to move) and buy The Returned right this very instance.

Sure, I may be a bit biased. Jason is a friend. He’s a kind, funny, smart guy who I’m lucky to have met years ago through As Was Written co-founder, John-Mark, who went to college with him. Even still, I recommend the book because Jason is an incredibly talented writer. He started as a poet and the first time I heard him read a prose story at one of our shows, I remember thinking to myself, “Holy crap! There’s nothing this guy can’t write without absolutely owning it.” He’s not only mastered poetry but his grasp of prose is just as great. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him read a portion of the book to a live audience more than once. He read at the very first As Was Written show and has taken the stage for John-Mark and me on several occasions. An event Jason and another friend, Justin, started while attending UNC-Wilmington was part of the inspiration for starting As Was Written. To speak of his writing range, I’ve heard him read: poetry about superheroes, short stories about The Flintstones up to no good and, of course, short stories from his new novel. The guy’s an animal. I remember telling him that this story for The Returned should be a movie “or something” and him coyly smiling and saying, “Well…” and, as it turns out, there’s a TV adaptation of the new book set to start in March called Resurrection starring Omar Epps and Kurtwood Smith (“Red” from That 70’s Show). How cool is that?

Here’s a bit of what the book is about:

Harold and Lucille Hargrave’s lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they’ve settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people’s loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it’s a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he’s their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

So, go buy the book. No need to thank me for your enjoyment of it. Thank the man himself. You can find him on Twitter, his website (where you can also read other things he’s written once you’re enamored with his mad writing skillz) or you can catch him during his book tour when he drops in on a city near you.