This past weekend, my daughters were kind enough to allow me to use their computer after mine died. However, I didn’t want to test their patience by hogging their means of playing “Animal Jam” long enough to write a blog post.
Thankfully, Mr. AMB wrote one for me. It’s a review of The Revenant, a book I might read, contrary to my husband’s expectations, but won’t buy as an e-book (see the review for the reason).
Until Mr. AMB stumbled upon this book, I’d never heard of a “revenant.” It’s an antiquated word that those who’ve decried the overuse of “zombie apocalypse” should consider resurrecting (Remember these fabulous words? I’d love to see “Grimgribber” and “Flesh-tailor” come back into style).
Mr. AMB’s Review:
I told A.M.B. I didn’t know what to read next, and she recommended, “why don’t you try to find books like The Martian?” So I dutifully proceeded to Amazon, searched for The Martian, and thumbed through the “customers who bought this item also bought” tab until I came across The Revenant, by Michael Punke. The title jumped out at me because just last month, the epic trailer for the movie version of The Revenant came out.
The book, first published in 2002, was built upon the true-life story of Hugh Glass, a fur trapper in the 1820s who was mauled by a bear and then abandoned by the two men assigned to care for him. As the book’s description concludes,
With shocking grit and determination, Glass sets out crawling inch by inch across more than three thousand miles of uncharted American frontier, negotiating predators both human and not, the threat of starvation, and the agony of his horrific wounds. In Michael Punke’s hauntingly spare and gripping prose, The Revenant is a remarkable tale of obsession, the human will stretched to its limits, and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution.
Sounds good to me! (I can already hear A.M.B. replying, “sounds dreadful to me.”)
First things first: what the heck is a “revenant?” I had no idea.
The word comes to English from the French revenir (“to return”), and it means “a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.” These days, I’d assume such a person would be a zombie or undead. I ran a Google Ngram analysis and found that revenant was far more common than either zombie or undead until the 1960s. The underlying story in The Revenant takes place a century before either zombie or undead were used at all, and so the title is apt, and not just an excuse to use an antiquated term.
As the book’s description said, The Revenant is indeed “a remarkable tale,” one told through “gripping” prose that does for wilderness survival in the 1820s what The Martian did for extraterrestrial survival in the near future. When Glass decided to build a “bullboat,” something I’d never heard of, I went straight to Wikipedia, and found “From 1810 to 1830, American fur traders on the tributaries of the Missouri regularly built boats eighteen to thirty feet long, using the methods of construction employed by the Indians in making their circular boats.” Bravo. The vivid and detailed description of Glass’s tribulation is what really sells The Revenant, and makes it a compelling re-imagining of a true story from nearly two centuries ago that was only sparsely documented.
Ah, but there’s a catch: the darn thing was $12.99, a price that Amazon tells me was set by Macmillan, one of the greedy publishers previously caught conspiring to raise e-book prices. Is electronic version of The Revenant worth $12.99? No, particularly not when The Martian is $5.99. Until the price drops, consider finding The Revenant at your local library.