Title: Revenants- The Odyssey Home
Author: Scott Kauffman
Publisher: Moonshine Cove Publishing
Source: Review Copy from Author
“Revenants- The Odyssey Home” is a tale of returning back to home. Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, with scenes from World War I, it is a novel about those who fail to return to their homes.
About the Author
Scott Kauffman is an attorney by profession, practising in California. He is the author the legal- suspense novel, In Deepest Consequences, and a recipient of the 2011 Mighty River Short Story Contest and the 2010 Hackney Literary Award. ‘Revenants- The Odyssey Home’ is his second novel.
The Journey to Home
Betsy has recently lost her brother to a failed army mission, conducted during the Vietnam War. She finds it hard, coming to terms with the death of her dear brother, Nathan. Smitten by change in Betsy’s behaviour, people around her convince her to work as a Candy striper- a volunteer worker, in a Veterans hospital.
Soon Betsy starts liking the new role that she has taken up. But there’s a secret patient kept alone at a floor, where nobody is allowed to go. As destiny would have it, Betsy finds a way of getting into that patient’s room. The war has robbed the patient of all major body parts, save one finger. Nobody knows anything about him. Not even his name.
Betsy has made up her mind to find his home. In this process, she learns that this patient has been kept here secretly, by a political leader- Hanna, who has complete control over this hospital. If the patient’s name comes out & his home is found, Hanna’s political career will be shattered, along with his marriage.
What follows next is how Betsy finds the patient’s home & discovers strange truths that connect with his own brother, Nathan. We also see how the political leaders can do anything for the sake of their position & reputation.
The story of the novel is captivating. There is certainly a sense of mystery lurking in the plot. We witness Betsy’s present life, her past, the patient’s past and finally how the the past & present are linked with each other. The narrative shifts from one time-period to another.
There are a lot of characters in this novel but the novel doesn’t begin with a proper exposition. All the characters are thrown together into the plot, instead of being introduced gradually. Betsy, the protagonist, as a character is only a dummy in the hands of the author. She has no life of her own. She has nothing to do with her family, once she finds about that secret patient.
Honestly, I was unable to enjoy this book as much as I had expected. It is slow paced from the beginning itself. Secondly, the writing style of the author is somewhat dense & obtuse. The prose is characterized by long sentences without any punctuation marks, which (sometimes) makes it difficult to comprehend the text. I had to read about 10 chapters twice, to make some episodes clear.
Another problem, that I had with this book is the dialect of certain characters. Use of double negatives & omission of helping verbs at certain places irritated me. I encountered a number of words whose meanings I didn’t know. All these things hampered my reading experience.
Some readers might say that the author’s description of the patient’s past is the best part of the book. But I don’t think that this story-telling element served some great purpose. Before finishing, I would say that most of the problems that I had with this book were personal. So, it is possible that some other readers might enjoy it.
The book has better ratings on Goodreads. One might give it a try. But it is the kind of book that takes time & efforts. So think before you pick it up.
My Rating: *** (2.75/5)
What do you think about this book? Do you think you would have enjoyed it? Do share your thoughts. Thanks.
*I was given a copy by the author, in exchange for a review. Views expressed are entirely personal & unbiased.*