Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Michael Punke’s The Revenant: A Book Review

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Michael Punke’s The Revenant is a gritty, no holds barred piece of historical fiction. Avoiding cumbersome slogs through governmental structures and wars, Punke instead explores the life and struggles of the fur trapper Hugh Glass on the frontier lines of America in the early 1800’s. Ripe with conflict, Glass miraculously survives a bear attack, killing the beast in the process. When the two men left to guard him abandon the body, Glass becomes hell-bent on revenge, a quest that fuels first his survival and subsequently his recovery.

In clean prose, Punke quickly establishes the central conflicts—namely the intrusion of the white man into native lands while battling the very lands themselves. This novel, a piece that flows by with ease, pulls at the reader and paints a rugged picture of a rugged time. Starting in medias res, the novel seems to end in a similar manner just when it needs to, just when we are aware of Glass’ fate, and that of the two men who left him to die.

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