Revenants: The Odyssey Home by Scott Kauffman || Review


Author: Scott Kauffman
No. of pages:
Genre: historical fiction, war
Year of publication: 
Date read: 1 June 2017


A grief-stricken candy-striper serving in a VA hospital following her brother’s death in Viet Nam struggles to return home an anonymous veteran of the Great War against the skullduggery of a congressman who not only controls the hospital as part of his small-town fiefdom but knows the name of her veteran. A name if revealed would end his political ambitions and his fifty-year marriage. In its retelling of Odysseus’ journey, Revenants casts a flickering candle upon the charon toll exacted not only from the families of those who fail to return home but of those who do.


I’ve finished the first book of my June TBR! It was The Odyssey Home by Scott Kauffman and my thoughts are very divided when it comes to rating and reviewing this book.

When I started the book, the first thing I noticed was that some sentences were very long, weird and not easy to read or comprehend. The start was a bit slow, but I’m not the only one who thinks so; I’ve read reviews on Goodreads where people say the same and even Kauffman himself ‘warned’ me that the beginnen could be really slow. And it’s not necessarily that the story is slow, not at all, because you fall right into the grief of Betsy and soon you get to know the other soldiers in the hospital and even the secret patient. It’s more that most sentences are very long and the punctuation sometimes make them very hard to read and understand at the first time.

There was even a whole chapter that I had to read twice, in order to be able to understand it. And even after the second time around I found it very difficult. This was a chapter about the secret patient’s past. Part of the confusion came from some ‘he”s and nowhere a name of who the ‘he’ is. Or two names, but then I didn’t know to whom the ‘he’ was referring. Eventually you get to know the secret patient’s name, but I just totally read over that part. There was not a moment of exclamation, clarifying that Betsy now knew the name of her mystery patient. Although that was the biggest part of the story. At least, I thought so.

Yep, halfway through I had the urge to just quit reading this story: it was too confusing and the plotline didn’t pull me enough to look forward to continue reading it. Afterwards, I’m happy I did continue! When I just look at the story Kauffman has written, it’s a very important one: war doesn’t only harm those who don’t survive it, but also, and mainly, the ones who actually do. There are events in the book that describe this pain, caused by war, but above all the misunderstanding of those who can’t cope with this pain. After all, I think I will remember this story for its originality and message.

2.75/5 ★

*I received a paper copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

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