Review of “Revenants: The Odyssey Home” by Scott Kauffman

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*May contain mild spoilers*

“I know now Betsy will be all right. She will again see the sweetness of life through its mysteries revealed to her for we do not live our lives in straight lines but in circles bewildering to us as a maze, our present lives, circling our past, all the while circling the present and past of those we love, which, with luck, is where mine and Betsy’s converge. Then we two will each in turn have completed our own Odysseys home.”

I received an ebook copy of “Revenants” from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Reading the synopsis of this book, I hoped that my lack of familiarity with Homer’s “The Odyssey,” upon which “Revenants” is based, wouldn’t stunt my understanding too much. I don’t believe it did, although I kind of wish I had read “The Odyssey” first.

Betsy is a high school student with a promising future, but she lets that all go following the death of her older brother in Vietnam. On the verge of failing school, she is assigned a volunteer position as a candy striper at the local VA hospital. There, she meets and befriends young men who left the war with maimed bodies and minds. In caring for her patients, a part of her seems to heal from the loss of her brother.

She also sets out to learn the identity of a hospital stowaway who’s been tucked away in the hospital attic since World War I. Her mission to get him home is met with opposition from a corrupt Congressman whose personal agenda goes deeper than most people realize.

I really, really enjoyed this book, even though the author tended to ramble a lot. He uses such vivid imagery that I felt like I’d been sucked into the story. This is not a book about war itself, but about the way it impacts soldiers and their loved ones.

The only character that seemed poorly developed was Congressman Hanna. I felt like Kauffman painted him too much as a stereotypical villain, to the point that I half-expected Hanna to have a greasy, curly mustache that he twirled with his finger. Otherwise, I really felt a connection with the rest of the characters. It’s amazing to see how Betsy goes from a grieving little sister at the end of her rope to a woman who cares so much for wounded troops that she almost loses her mind.

“Revenants: The Odyssey Home,” is an epic journey of a novel that fans of multi-layered historical fiction are sure to enjoy. 4/5 stars

About the author

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photo and bio courtesy of author’s Goodreads profile

Scott claims his fiction career began with a in-class book report written in Mrs. Baer’s eighth-grade English class when, due to a conflict of priorities, he failed to read the book. An exercise of imagination was required. Scott snagged a B, better than the C he received on his last report when he actually read the book. Thus began his life-long apprenticeship as a teller of tales and, some would snidely suggest, as a lawyer as well, but they would be cynics, a race Oscar Wilde warned us knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. Scott is the author of the legal-suspense novel, In Deepest Consequences, and a recipient of the 2011 Mighty River Short Story Contest and the 2010 Hackney Literary Award. His short fiction has been appeared in Big Muddy, Adelaide Magazine, and Lascaux Review. He is now at work on two novel manuscripts and a collection of short stories. He is an attorney in Irvine, California, where his practice focuses upon white-collar crime and tax litigation with his clients providing him endless story fodder. He graduated summa cum laude from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and in the upper ten percent of his class from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, where he was a member of the Environmental Law Review and received the American Jurisprudence Award in Conflict of Laws.

 

 

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One thought on “Review of “Revenants: The Odyssey Home” by Scott Kauffman

  1. Pingback: End of year book survey | That Book Lady Blog

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