Today, I’m happy to feature Scott Kauffman’s newest book, Revenants: The Odyssey Home, a historical fiction novel inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey. Read on for more info about the book and a special guest post by the author himself!
ONLY BETSY CAN GET HIM HOME IN TIME; ONLY HE CAN BRING HER BACK BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.
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.
Here are some reviews from people who’ve read the book:
“Masterfully written. A book that takes you through the lives of young soldiers and the ones they leave behind. A coming of age story, and yet so much more. This book was endearing, a read not soon forgotten. The author wrote with feeling for his characters and that feeling is passed to us through those words. Romantic and yet tearful. This is truly a great odyssey of a novel. Spectacular! 5 stars” – Doris Vandruff
“…one of the most powerful and memorable books I have read in a while. Written with great care, displaying the love that runs through families, the love that lives among brothers- in-arms and the love for those long forgotten, we are given a heartfelt look at the true heroes in war, while seeing the true colors of a coward hiding behind the mask of a politician. If you are looking for a book that will absorb you into its pages and hang on to you long after that last page, I cannot recommend Revenants: The Odyssey Home enough. Be warned, you will find yourself gutted to the core more than once.” – Diane
Wondering if it had improved any with age in the forty-five years since I garnered my gentleman’s “C” on a book report from an English teacher likely being generous, I again cracked open The Old Man and the Sea. While my first reading of a fish story about the one that got away bored me to tears, or maybe only to Bonanza that evening, my second left me unsettled for Old Man I see now is Hemingway’s brooding meditation on approaching death.
Like Santiago who catches the biggest fish of his life only to lose it to sharks and in that moment knows his best days as a fisherman are forever behind him, so too Hemingway saw his best days as a writer slipping fast as fish line through his fingers. Old Man proved to be his last novel, and he wrote little thereafter that did not require heavy editing. In its pages he foreshadows his own suicide ten years later on an Idaho mountaintop where, ever the showoff, he unloaded both shotgun barrels into the back of his mouth. A not surprising death for a man whose is father took his own life as did two siblings and at least one grandchild. A death foreshadowed even earlier in The Sun Also Rises, set almost 30 years to the day before his suicide, and later in For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Hemingway leaves us with the question of how should one meet death? Santiago’s answer is by struggling on come what may: A man, he insists over and over, can be destroyed but should never allow himself to be defeated. Old Santiago fought the good fight until he had nothing but a skeleton of a great fish left to defend and sailed home to die dreaming of the lions he once saw in his youth as they played on a beach in Africa.
So what to make of Hemingway in the end giving in to the despair of defeat? His failing in the fight he wanted most to make, feared his whole life he would not make, and in the end did not. Perhaps this final tragedy, of not going down with both fists swinging, is a fate awaiting us all unless we have lived without ideals, which, Hemingway says, would for us be the greater tragedy. Hemingway’s Dilemma tells us that life gives us a choice between two tragedies: Living a life absent of ideals or living one with ideals but in the end failing to live up to them.
~ Scott Kauffman, Author of Revenants: The Odyssey Home
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Thank you to the author for providing his thoughts for this week’s post!
And a special announcement, check the blog and my Twitter @spinesinaline next week for a book giveaway, sponsored by Collective of Misfits!