The Returned

This is the second book that I have read by this author. Previously I have referred to his writing style as cerebral, now I am going to reiterate that. Something about the characters and the plot resonates with the reader, long after the last page has been turned. I will admit that I opened this book with a bit of skepticism. The plot elements (Two diametrically opposed black brothers, the only black people on a prospecting expedition through the amazon looked to me like a literary train wreck waiting to unfold. Not the case. The character development is deep and complex, kinda like real people. There is an impressive level of depth to this novel, below the plot lies a layer of humanistic exploration. On the individual level, the question of one’s psychological depth and savage potential is illuminated. Place the educated western man’s savage potential next to the stereotypical western notion of the ‘primal people’ of the tribes of South America; what you have is an interesting perspective through which to look at a very real and contemporary issue that is complex and worth thinking seriously about.

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