John Champlin Gardner and Emil Antonucci - Grendel

8 ratings (8 Epinions reviews)
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Grendel, new perspective on Beowulf

Dec 18, 1999
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Rated a Helpful Review

Pros:fluid writing style, unique perspectives, excellent job of humanizing demon from an old myth

Cons:some aspects can be "on the fringe"--strange (but I would call that a pro more than a con!) :-)

Grendel is a little known gem in the book world. John Gardner did an excellent job portraying the tortured soul of a ghoul, the love-hate relationship Grendel had with his own existence. Grendel's perspective of the Viking "heros" spreading across the land is a fascinating read. Everything from Grendel's warped philosophical ramblings about life and death, to encounters with thoughtless animals, stupid humans, or the brilliant and quirky dragon who Grendel gravitates toward at times for advice.

There is something about the way the book is written that makes it a very easy read. I love reading, but I can rarely read an entire book in one sitting. Grendel is one of the few books I can read front to back in one sitting, even while I savor some of the kernels of wisdom and John Gardner's writing style. There are parts of the book that can become tiresome, however. This would be the occasional injection of poetry or lyric, strange sentence fragments strung together. When I come to these points in the book, I feel like a fast car on a straightaway suddenly lurching through a series of hairpin curves. As a whole, the book is like a very smooth work of prose. This is surprising because of the story content and the unique way John Gardner presents it.

It is very hard to compare this book to others. I cannot say I have read another book like it. This is the way I would love to write a book if I ever get around to it. I think John Gardner had a lot of fun in its writing. Reading Grendel led me to read most of John Gardner's other books, in search for another book that approaches the same level of prose. All of John Gardner's other books I have read tend to take place in the 1980s and involve very ordinary people faced with certain philosophical roadblocks in their lives. Grendel is my favorite John Gardner book. In fact, I would consider Grendel to be my all time favorite book. It suits my style of thinking and matches my occasionally schizophrenic "cynical-optimistic" outlook on life and my own existence.


Recommend this product? Yes


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