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.
I don’t read a lot of Historical Fiction, and even less about the wars the United States participated in, but I could not put this one down. Even though it was heart wrenching, and there were tissues involved, it was beautiful and moving. Although everyone knows war is terrible (and that’s not even close to a strong enough word), this really showed the effects on not only the soldiers, but their friends, family and community.
The development of the characters is done very well. Scott Kauffman does a phenomenal job writing about people struggling with their grief, and when they just can’t take any more, giving up. It made me think that Kauffman may have know people like these in his life; those who use alcohol to deaden the pain, those that seethe with anger, and even those who have just checked out of life.
If you enjoy Historical Fiction or books about war, specifically WWII or Viet Nam, I definitely think you should give this one a read.