Sunday, November 06, 2016

Grendel by John Gardner


A friend of mine required this book in her dual enrollment English class at the College.  I read it last weekend.  It grabbed me from the beginning and I didn’t want to put it down.  It is mercifully short, though.  I did get tired of the details of eating people.  It is a good companion to Beowulf from a literary perspective and would allow the students to think about Beowulf from a different stance.  As a stand alone book, however, I sort of saw it as an experiment.  I loved Gardner’s The Art of Fiction and need to read it again, so he clearly knows what he is doing in literature.  Some reviewers on Amazon criticized the teenage whininess of Grendel and that the mother is portrayed as powerless and mindless.  The prose is remarkable.  I was transported in that regard. 

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