“Marshaling his strength, he rolled heavily on his stomach. He felt the snap of suture breaking and the warm wetness of new blood on his back. The pain diluted to nothing against the tide of his rage. Hugh Glass began to crawl.”
― Michael Punke, The Revenant
The Revenant by Michael Punke is a 2002 novel based on a series of events in the life of American frontiersman Hugh Glass. Funnily, I don’t think many people, including me, knew of this book before the movie adaptation. I picked this book up because I felt like I owe it to Leo(nardo DiCaprio) to read the book (because I wanted to read the book before the movie) that inspired the movie adaptation and finally got him his Oscar. I understand now the appeal movie director Alejandro González Iñárritu saw. Also, I suppose I was lured in by the the title. The Revenant – one who has returned as if from dead.
Shortly about the plot, in novel, it’s 1823. Novel starts by describing some trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Hugh Glass is among the Company’s finest men, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. Then, during the very first pages we learn that he is viciously mauled by a grizzly bear and not expected to survive. The Company’s captain dispatches two of his men to stay behind and Glass a proper burial. BUT two men abandon him instead, taking his only means of protecting himself.
“Of course it’s not simple. Who said it was simple? But you know what? Lots of loose ends don’t ever get tied up. Play the hand you’re dealt. Move on.”
― Michael Punke,
I’ll just have to agree with Washington Post, it’s indeed “A superb revenge story”. I was worried at first that ‘The Reventant’ would turn out to be very gritty, bloody and violent novel. I had seen bits of trailer and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was very gritty in a a way, yet it wasn’t bad and I haven’t read too many westerns so I found ‘The Revenant’ very enjoyable. I adore books that teach me something small, and this novel gave me nice little details of the history and also about the life of Hugh Glass. What I perhaps didn’t like was that first half of the book was much more exciting than the second one. I wish the author would have dragged it on for a bit or made more plot twists towards the end of the book. Moreover, I was also a bit surprised by the ending but I guess that’s how it works in real life.
In either case all that crawling… I just can’t give that less than 4/5 stars.
“He raised his eyes to a horizon carved from snowy mountain peaks, virgin white against the frigid blue sky. He could climb up there if he wanted. Climb up there and touch the horizon, jump across and find the next..”
― Michael Punke,
1. You’ll like this if you like reading westerns, survival stories or just historical fiction in general. You’ll learn about unpredictable American West in 1820s.
2. It’s quite quick read, 300 pages. Personally I liked the covers of the paperback more than hardcover, it was more modern and blue color fits the book better.
3. It’s best if you start reading this book with low expectations. I had barely heard anything about this book so I was positively surprised.
4. I wouldn’t say that this book had any graphic content, however I think most sensitive readers perhaps should fast-forward the part where bear attacks the main character.
5. For further reading: Hugh Glass: The Truth Behind the Revenant Legend, The Revenant (movie) Fact vs. Fiction.
Have you read this? Have you seen the movie adaptation?