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Grendel by John Gardner

Grendel (1971)

by John Gardner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Here John Gardner tells us Grendel's side of the old story of Beowulf and his slaying of the Monster menacing Hrothgar's people. When Grendel first begins observing people he is surprised to find that they speak a language similar to his own and, at times, wants to talk with them. But, when they first see him, all they see is a monster that needs killing. So he spies on them, occasionally killing one or two, listens to the Shaper's singing of old tales in Hrothgar's hall, and finally goes to war with humans.

I was reminded a bit of the Frankenstein monster (not the movie version) as Grendel was very alone, his mother uncommunicative, and the Dragon finding it wearying to talk to a frightened Grendel who couldn't understand much of its philosophical musings. Thus Grendel found himself on his own in trying to figure out life and his place in the world; somehow, the reader wants him to succeed in finding a place where he belongs even though we know how his story must end.
  hailelib | May 30, 2015 |
It is really good and has a very interesting main character. It makes you contemplate a lot about good and bad. The main characters thoughts are quite surreal and also has an interestingly unique personality. ( )
  Keroro | Apr 28, 2015 |
This was okay. I think I was expecting something a little different though. ( )
  Book_Minx | Jan 24, 2015 |
Read this in college when I was fascinated by Beowulf--the story from the monster's point of view. Never read anything like it. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Jan 24, 2015 |
This book was chosen for me to read for school. I found that I didn't like the way it was written. It switched tenses quickly and was hard to follow. However, I know that this is the way old literature was written, but I find I don't like it. I do however find that I like the background of Grendel's character and the depth the author went into. Not a book I would highly recommend to friends and family but would recommend to those who have read "Beowulf" and would like a further understanding of the villain. ( )
  Peggy673 | Aug 25, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Gardnerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Antonucci, EmilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kassner, WendyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonard, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Penberthy, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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And if the Babe is born a Boy
He's given to a Woman Old,
Who nails him down upon a rock,
Catches his shrieks in cups of gold.
-- William Blake
For Joel and Lucy
First words
The old ram stands looking over rockslides, stupidly triumphant.
I touch the door with my fingertips and it bursts, for all its fire-forged bands--it jumps away like a terrified deer--and I plunge into the silent, hearth-lit hall with a laugh that I wouldn't much care to wake up to myself.
The sun walks mindlessly overhead, the shadows lengthen and shorten as if by plan.
And so begins the twelfth year of my idiotic war. The pain of it! The stupidity!
I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly—as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back.
What was he? The man had changed the world, had torn up the past by its thick, gnarled roots and had transmuted it, and they, who knew the truth, remembered it his way--and so did I.
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Book description
Grendel is a 1971 parallel novel by American author John Gardner. It is a retelling of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf from the perspective of the antagonist, Grendel. The novel deals with finding meaning in the world, the power of literature and myth, and the nature of good and evil.

AR 5.9, 6 Pts
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679723110, Paperback)

Grendel is a beautiful and heartbreaking modern retelling of the Beowulf epic from the point of view of the monster, Grendel, the villain of the 8th-century Anglo-Saxon epic. This book benefits from both of Gardner's careers: in addition to his work as a novelist, Gardner was a noted professor of medieval literature and a scholar of ancient languages.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:47 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic BEOWULF, tells his side of the story.

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