Book Reviews

Revenants: The Odyssey Home by Scott Kauffman

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

You go through your life, reading totally normal books. And occasionally, a book comes along that’s so soul-shredding, compellingly written, and emotional that you want to stand on a box and scream out to every passer-by that they need to read the book.

Revenants was one such book for me. I can’t stress enough about how amazing this book is. READ IT TODAY BECAUSE IT’S THAT BRILLIANT!

Goodreads synopsis:


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.


Okay, I’ll say it: the cover is not that great. My first thought on seeing the cover was “uh oh”. Sure, the blurb is interesting, but I never would’ve picked up the book if I’d seen it in a bookstore. How great can a book with this cover be? But, I went ahead and started reading it. And my, how wrong could my first impression have been?

Betsy, the main character, loses her brother to the Vietnam war. She develops some bad habits, which makes her end up as a candy-striper in a VA hospital that summer. How she changes her perspective on life and how she unravels one of the hospital’s mysteries form the crux of the story.

This book is a compelling read about how wars can rip life apart. Lives are lost both in the war zone and back home. The families of fallen soldiers have emotional consequences which the government doesn’t heed. Truck loads of impressionable young men are just sent in to replace the dead soldiers. Revenants: The Odyssey Home will open your eyes to the emotional damage caused by wars.

This book also includes flashbacks to the story of a World War 1 veteran (can’t reveal more without spoiling the story). This is not just a war novel, though. It’s a love story, a coming of age story, it has history, it has politics–this book really is a big deal. Right from the preface, Kauffman reels you in. I fell in love with this book just based on these lines from the preface:

“You may think you have a memory, but those black-night revelations taught me it is memory that has you for it is only remembrance that can render dignity to death. Remembrance that haunts you and holds you and will not let you go. Not ever.”

These lines set the tone for the rest of the book. This book will definitely haunt me for a long time to come. Revenants has a lot of political intrigue, brilliant character development, stunning prose, and the ability to reduce the reader to tears. This book should be a must-read for any person who likes war novels, coming of age stories, or historical fiction.

And, me? I’m just glad Scott Kauffman sent me a signed copy of this book. This one goes in the treasure chest of best ARCs!

Rating: 5 out of 5


What did you think of my review? Would you read this book? Let me know in the comments!

General update: I’ve been nominated for the Indian Blogger Awards!

You can help me win by writing a testimonial about my blog. If my reviews have ever helped you, or if my posts have made you laugh, please leave a comment here. You can simply like the link too, if you don’t want to write something.

~ Shruti

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14 thoughts on “Revenants: The Odyssey Home by Scott Kauffman

      1. Oh no – I suspect that a lot of folks will agree with you… Book covers, I think, are a highly personal thing. But at the end of the day, it’s what’s inside that counts so I’m glad this is a really enjoyable read – thank you for sharing:)

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hey Shruti! Great review! Wait . . . Weren’t you reading this during The Sunshine blogger award? I saw it on one of your answers😉
    It seems to be a good book (I take that from all the caps). And the dialogue ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ is 101 percent applicable for bookworms, too (I HAVE experience in that area)!! But then, as we read it, our opinions miraculously change, and we start worshipping and start screaming at everybody to read it 😂😀

    Liked by 1 person

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