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Book Review: An engaging read of survival and revenge


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Jakarta | Fri, October 21, 2016 | 07:26 am
Book Review: An engaging read of survival and revenge

This book is a captivating western classic that will surely stand the test of time.  (Shutterstock/File)

The thing about film adaptations is that often, unless they are hugely popular books like 50 Shades of Grey, you often don’t realize the film is an adaptation until you've finished watching it. And for some reason there’s an assumption that reading the book after watching the movie is a waste of time, because the plot has already been revealed. But the beauty of Michael Punke’s The Revenant is that it lies in the arduous journey, not in the ending.

If you've watched the DiCaprio film version then you’ll know what the story entails (spoiler alert!)—sleeping inside a carcass, eating bison liver, fending off hostile Indians and walking thousands of miles back to civilization. After our main protagonist Hugh Glass is attacked by a bear, he is left on the edge of death. And the two men who are supposed to watch him can’t afford to waste time, so they just leave him to die.

Read also: The Revenant: Oscar-worthy brutal yet touching story of survival

If there was ever a perfect example of a hero’s journey from fall to redemption, then this may well be it. Throughout the journey, Punke gives clear insight into Glass’ psyche, indicating that his mind and resolve are as strong as ever, even though he’s mortally wounded. And it’s his obsessive goal of revenge that eventually gets him walking again.

Honestly, it’s hard to be excited about a book set nearly 200 years ago, but Punke’s storytelling style makes The Revenant so easy and engaging to read. And the novel is rich with vivid detail about a time and a place that the movie simply couldn’t represent in the same way. The book is as much about the lives of fur trappers and the chaotic history of that time as it is about Glass’ journey.

Reading The Revenant is also educational. You’ll learn how to light a fire, how to fight a bear and even how to punch people to death. Coupled with the fact that this is essentially one big action-packed tale of survival and revenge, if you’re keen to be transported to a completely different era, read on. This book is a captivating western classic that will surely stand the test of time. (kes)

Click here to read the book.


Title: The Revenant

Author: Michael Punke

Published: 2015

Publisher: Hyperink

Genre: Modern fiction

Pages:  272

Reviewer: Natalie Pang

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.