The Revenant

May 4, 2018

The Revenant, by Michael Punke, is a fictional tale based on the real life account of Hugh Glass, a trapper who was attacked by a grizzly bear and then left for dead by the men who had been left to care for him. This story is extremely gripping from the explosive opening moments until the very last page. Throughout the novel the reader is practically swept up into the action. Not only are the men in The Revenant struggling with each other, but Nature herself has a huge role in this survival tale. This would have been a five star read except for the ridiculously unsatisfactory conclusion. It felt like The Revenant suddenly turned from a survival/revenge story into a tame morality play. Without saying too much, the film’s ending was significantly better than that of the novel.
In the afterward, the author Michael Punke explains that many of the moments in his book are in fact fiction. The bulk of the dramatic events surrounding Glass and his fellow trappers are however true, and sometimes so horrific it is easier to believe they are fabricated. He endured within a year what no man should have to experience in a lifetime. While I found the story of Glass’ redemption compelling, Punke wrote in an almost droll, dull style that made parts of the book drag with what seemed like a fair amount of filler. Overall I would not recommend this to someone who is looking for the revenge story that Punke sets it up to be. If there is one takeaway from this novel, it is that you cannot judge a book by it’s cover.

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