The First is the first (pardon the redundancy) of several prequels to Mott’s novel The Returned.
It tells us about the first returned, Edmund, who had died 1 year prior, before he and his fiancée Emily got a chance to get married. It is a short account of how the two of them, as well as the rest of the world, react to such an impossibility.
For the most part, I enjoyed listening to The First. The narrator was pretty good; he set a very fast pace throughout the entire narrative, keeping me on edge, but I did find some bits overly dramatic and the voices a tad odd, particularly Emily’s mum.
However, this is only my second experience with an audible story, so maybe I just need time to adapt.
I found the story believable for the most part. If a loved one returned from the dead, how would you react? And it’s when asking this question that I find I did not much enjoy Emily’s mum. She seemed to just accept such a bizarre thing. She had a hey, he’s back, aren’t you happy? sort of attitude. That did not seem realistic to me at all.
The other thing I did not find believable was that the guard would open up to Edmund just like that. I mean, one can sympathize with someone who is locked up without having done anything, but I did not listen to anything that made me accept that the guy would basically throw away his job like that. I just don’t understand why he crossed that line, or why he would even begin to tell him about his daughter in the first place; telling Edmund not to worry about the car, about them being tracked, also seemed overly simplistic to me.
Alas, the focus of this short story is not whether Emily and Edmund will be together and live happily ever after; it’s about that initial shock and the first reactions. When Edmund returned, he went to work as if nothing had happened. You can imagine his co-workers were baffled.
Then we hear about Emily’s reaction and her mum’s and obviously the government also gets involved. I particularly appreciated hearing about how Emily and Edmund’s relationship started getting serious, it brought a more personal feeling to the story which made all the difference.
It is an enjoyable listen and you can find this 33 minute long story for free on Audible here.
Listened to on April 02, 2015