True story: I read some books because they’re going to be movies (always read the book first, people) and I watch some movies because someone particular is going to star in it. I am not ashamed of this.
That being said, when I read that Leonardo DiCaprio is starring in an adaptation of Michael Punke’s THE REVENANT I read a summary of the movie and decided I wanted to read the book. The movie isn’t out yet but I’m well on my way to it being an excellent idea all around.
A historical novel based on the real life experiences of 1820s fur trapper Hugh Glass, it really does an excellent job of making the world of fur trappers on the unexplored prairie and further west real. I lost track of the number of times I tapped words on my screen that I didn’t know and saw that they were archaic and of the period. That made me trust the story more and trust is important with historical fiction based on real events. If the language of a historical novel, especially one set so long ago, seems too modern there’s hardly a reason take it seriously.
This is a book I can take seriously. And I knew that even before I read the author’s notes at the end that laid out what he based on fact and evidence and what he created for the sake of a novel. The two things mesh perfectly to create a story that is vivid, intriguing, and easy to read without any superfluous dialogue or description.
It feels like an expedition into the American west.
In researching more facts and semi-facts in the novel, I’ve also discovered that the 1971 Richard Harris film “Man in the Wilderness” is based on the life of Hugh Glass so I plan to watch that and the new movie when it comes out and then compare all three.
I love history and this is a period of history I haven’t read much about. Punke, though the fictionalization of this not very well documented period of American history, makes it come alive and makes me want to know more.
THE REVENANT is available for purchase now.
I received a copy of THE REVENANT: A NOVEL OF REVENGE from Macmillan-Picador through NetGalley in exchange for an honest & original review. My review will be posted at NetGalley, on Goodreads, and on my blog.