Grendel by John Gardner


The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic Beowulf, tells his side of the story in a book William Gass called "one of the finest of our contemporary fictions."

Details Grendel

Release DateJun 2nd, 2010
PublisherRandom House Vintage Books
GenreFiction, Fantasy, Classics, Academic, School, Literature, Mythology

Reviews Grendel

  • karen
    this review may or may not contain spoilers. i assume that most bookish people are familiar with the basic plot elements of beowulf, either through high school required reading or that video-game-looking movie, or cocktails at the heaney's. if not - this could ruin everything! but it won't. ah, existentialism... when i was a young lass with my fontanelle as yet unfused; when i still liked the doors and books about manson, i dabbled briefly and em...
  • Stephen
    If I could ADOPT that big, lug of a monster, I would be signing the papers right now because Grendel really, really needs a friend something awful. That lonely, melancholy maneater gave my soul a migraine and his final "haunting" words spent me like loose change from the sofa. I can't tell you (though I'm still gonna try) how much I loved this book. It is definitely being added to my list of ALL TIME FAVORITES. I have rarely fallen so completely ...
  • Heidi The Hippie Reader
    Grendel is the ill-fated monster from the ancient story, Beowulf. This is his tale.There are very few details shared about Grendel in Beowulf. I thought that this story would be an opportunity for the reader to get to know him.Unfortunately, we spend most of the time in Grendel's mind, circling endlessly around the ideas of time, brutality, nature and the meaninglessness of existence.I wanted to know more about Grendel's mother, but there was ver...
  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    Philosophies clash, along with monsters and men. This story of Grendel, told from his point of view, is an unusual amalgamation of Grendel's stream-of-consciousness thought (which becomes more clear and organized as Grendel grows and develops) about his loneliness and self-centeredness, his attempts to make sense of the world, and his cruelty and hatred toward men, while being drawn to them at the same time. Grendel watches the Danes at Heorot at...
  • Arianne Thompson
    Look, I'll be honest: I'm never going to win a triathlon. Yes, scrubbing floors and wrestling dogs keeps me stronger than your average sedentary librivore, but my ecological niche is definitely chair-shaped.Even so, I was surprised at how challenging this book was. Take this sentence, for example:I am aware in my chest of tuberstirrings in the blacksweet duff of the forest overhead.The first time is pretty much "bwah?" The second time, your brain...
  • Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
    During a routine walk from the kitchen to the main room, he stopped mid-stride and suddenly realized that no actual speech had escaped his mouth in what was, sadly, many years. And even very few non-lingual sounds aside from occasional coughs and heavy, anxious breathing ever passed between his lips and the world. He scrolled through his long-term memory for the last time he'd spoken and before reaching a definitive answer he interupted himself w...
  • Rebecca
    I feel a little ambivalent about this book. It was definitely intellectually appealing, and the conversation that Grendel had with the dragon was very well done. But Grendel didn't really do what I expect novels to do: it didn't make me care about anything. Part of that may be because it's only a meager 174 pages - probably technically a novella - but I think even in 174 pages Gardner could have engaged the reader more.While I was able to scrape ...
  • Michael
    Every once in a while a book comes along that is so beautifully written it shames me to think I should ever consider putting verse to paper. This is one such book. -m
  • Timothy Urges
    We know Grendel’s ending, but what of his beginning? Who cares, life is meaningless. Grendel follows the nihilistic ramblings of the self-proclaimed monster, and it turns out he’s a sad boy with an attitude. The existential philosophies are compelling in the context of the novel, but I’ve seen humans far more vile and far less intelligent than Grendel. It would be interesting to explore his mind further. I want either more philosophy or mor...
  • John Farebrother
    A curious yet compelling read. It tells the story of Beowulf, but from the perspective of the monster, Grendel. Grendel, whose only companion is his taciturn mother, is a lonely creature, and each chapter is an excerpt from his solitary musings as he attempts to make sense of the world and his place in it. As such he is psychotic, but he is also very young, an adolescent, which elicits a reluctant sympathy in the reader. He is fascinated by the w...