The novel The Revenant

Took a break from reading old big summer novels to read a somewhat new novel, Michael Punke’s The Revenant, a novel first released in 2002 and recently released again in conjunction with its forthcoming film adaptation. Based on its preview, the film looks vastly better than the novel.

The Revenant isn’t well-written, and it is difficult to see what inspired the filmmakers to make a movie of it. The novel has many gaps and holes in its tale–one wishes to know more of minor characters and less of major, and only one is a cinematic well-rounded type, our hero Hugh Glass–and perhaps that is what drew-in the adapters; they read and saw what might have been, instead of what is.

For every good description of injury in The Revenant–and there are many injuries to Glass and to select minor characters–there is a tired cliche nearby; war cries are “piercing,” a nose is “ruddy,” silence becomes “uncomfortable.” The story of The Revenant is interesting, yet the writing betrays it.

Having recently completed The Charterhouse of Parma, a book filled with ecstatic life and wild adventure that puts a noodle like The Revenant to shame, I was grateful for the two evenings spent with this book, for appreciating greatness becomes easier the more one encounters simple pleasures such as this.