Revenants: The Odyssey Home by Scott Kaufmann

Reviewed by: Robyn

Revenants: The Odyssey Home is a story which all too many may already know, one which though a historical war fiction, is still pertinent today. The inspiration behind the book also makes it an especially special read.

Betsy loses her brother when he dies in action, she falls off the tracks losing herself and her direction in life as she mourns him. She is sent to work at a VA hospital. All war-ravaged veterans have a right to go home, and soon she is working hard to ensure that one of the oldest patients is given that opportunity, though it seems that not everyone in the small town is as eager to permit such rightfully earned closure for the fallen hero.

This story kind of broke me inside. I imagine many will relate when I say that I have had family who have gone to war, I am fortunate (depending on how you look at it) that it’s only my grandparents who had to face the horror of the World Wars , I recall the stories that would sometimes filter through from their subconscious. This book feels as though it were written by someone who had lived through the events mentioned, it’s that raw, that detailed, and that heart wrenching.

War is something I have never particularly been able to stomach, from the people sent to fight battles they had no part in starting, to the loved ones left behind fearing for the lives of the ones they have cherished and loved. The thing I find most difficult to comprehend, and which is present throughout Revenants is that those who return from the battle fields, do not return the same. When soldiers are sent to war, it seems that the support is endless, waved off with cheers, love and respect – returning however, they are traumatized, scarred and broken, suffering from PTSD and unable to cope with ‘normal’ life they often fall through the cracks as society disregards them for being damaged and sometimes crazy. They are left to crumble under the weight of the nightmares of their reality.
It is a devastating glimpse into the life of those left behind, as well as demonstrating just how easily life can be orchestrated by people whose conscience dies the higher up they get in political environments. Greed, pride, love and respect are all aspects of human nature which are investigated as Betsy and Barto attempt to uncover the truth of the secret patients’ identity and his past.

As each character works for or against the fallen hero’s return home you are given a chance to reflect upon your own mortality and what it is that you’d be willing to fight to the death for, or to remain in eternal obscurity over.

While at times it was almost too difficult to read, for the pure detail and length at which characters discuss things, and at certain points I battled with the ‘accent’ adopted by the soldiers, Scott Kauffman has given a beautiful story of humanity which I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good historical war fiction, or for that matter enjoys trying to piece the puzzles of human mystery together.

Review Rating: 3/5

More Information:

Published By: Moonshine Cove Publishing, LLC (December 15, 2015)

Published Date: December 15, 2015

Genre: Fiction

                          

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