Hillwalker, January 4, 2011 (view all comments by Hillwalker)
So why is Grendel trashing Hrothgar's mead hall so regularly? Well, everyone has to have a hobby. But Beowulf has crashed the party and is set on spoiling all the fun.
After reading the classic myth from Grendel's point of view, I'm not sure who's side I'd be on.
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m0martin, March 2, 2007 (view all comments by m0martin)
Simply breathtaking. Grendel's forlorn and foreign longing to share in the harp-player's tales of misty legend reveal the tenderest of hearts in solitude. As Grendel muses, he's never seen a wolf treat another wolf the way these humans treat each other, in war, in plunder, in idiotic slaughter. The book is also very, very funny. My highest recommendation!
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Simone, November 8, 2006 (view all comments by Simone)
John Gardner's poetic language and monstrous, fantastical descriptions in this novel of the old Grendel and Beowulf tale make for a constantly fascinating read. Grendel is pitiable as the outsider, looking into a firelit human world he cannot comprehend, and he is more human than his victims when he finds an enemy more vicious than he imagined in the fabled warrior, Beowulf. There is so much in this book that is worth returning to, I recommend it very highly to any reader of myth or dark fantasy.
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Vintage Books USA -
It's easy to find oneself in the thrall of hanks of blond hair and mead-fueled heroism, but it is a more difficult task to regard, with care, the heart of a monster. The monster (but is he?) in question is Grendel, an introspective animal who loves his mother and also has a taste for Danes. Gardner's novel is an accounting of the tale of Beowulf from Grendel's perspective; it's a story of a monster's hunger, love, and grief, and also those of men. Consider the original poem Beowulf: How is it that the happy endings of men and their stories are those that are soaked in blood?
by Library Journal,
"This is storytelling at its best."
by The New York Times,
An extraordinary achievement...very funny, original and deft, altogether lovable, poignant, rich with thought and feeling...immensely enjoyable. John Gardner has become a major contemporary writer."
"A marvelous novel — absolutely marvelous: witty, intelligent, delightful...a celebration and a conservation of what we most need in one of the greatest poetic myths we have...I cannot recommend it too highly."
by Christian Science Monitor,
"It deserves a place on the same shelf as Lord of the Flies, Cat's Cradle and Catcher in the Rye."
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