Customer Reviews for

Grendel

Average Rating 3.5
( 201 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

I found this book quite confusing. But i am only in 8th grade. The only reason I read this book was because it was on my sister's summer reading list, and she is a senior in high school. Even for not understanding it, i could tell that this was an excellent book. It was...
I found this book quite confusing. But i am only in 8th grade. The only reason I read this book was because it was on my sister's summer reading list, and she is a senior in high school. Even for not understanding it, i could tell that this was an excellent book. It was very well writen. It was also nice to read a book from the villen's point of view. I've always read stories from the hero's perspective, and it was a pleasent change to read the story from the outcast's view. This book was extremly good.

posted by Anonymous on August 5, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Slow and confusing

John Gardner had a creative idea to write the book to let readers see life through Grendel's eyes. However, the book was very long and dragged out. There wasn't a lot of action and fighting scenes as I had expected there to be. It was confusing how Gardner would jump ba...
John Gardner had a creative idea to write the book to let readers see life through Grendel's eyes. However, the book was very long and dragged out. There wasn't a lot of action and fighting scenes as I had expected there to be. It was confusing how Gardner would jump back and forth between flashbacks and current events.

posted by SBuerk on December 11, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2002

    I thought it was fairly excellent.

    This book is for those who aren't afraid to think a little bit. Gardner does a spectacular job rationalizing one of the most irrational characters ever written (seriously, this guy is up there with Hannibal Lector). If you like your black and white world and are afraid of different viewpoints DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. Otherwise I highly recommend it. It's not for the kiddies, and also not for those who are prone to existential crisis (unless you are into that sort of thing). Reading this book taught me that there could be a reason behind any action.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2002

    Good or Bad

    I think that Grendel was an excellent book, though I do not suggest reading it until you are at least a senior in high school. One thing that is amazing about Grendel is how many different levels in which you can read the book. The levels can vary from very simple to very complex. This is a book that needs to be read many times in order to catch all of the levels. You can, however, read it once and still understand it. If you like a challenge, though, than I would suggest reading it many times looking at each of the levels individually. I also think that Grendel can be viewed as a sad and tragic story. It is wonderful to see a book that prevails, what I believe to be as, all of the other side of the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2001

    Inventive, intelligent and convincing ...

    The first reviewer called this book 'rat filth'. I'm bewildered that someone could see so little value in this book. Frankly, it's one of the finest books I've read in quite a while. Even though the ending is apparent (if you've read Beowulf, that is), the plot is still enthralling; I read the book in one sitting, completely entranced. Furthermore, this book is not just a novelty. Gardner's shifting to Grendel's point of view is not merely a neat gimmick; it's an intelligent criticism of the 'values' expounded in Beowulf. Grendel is an intriguing character whom we can both shrink from and identify with. Gardner's prose is powerful and witty, as well. I recommend this book as one of the best, but often overlooked, books of the past few decades.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2000

    Inspiring and wisely written

    It was a wonderful book with lots and lots of mixed feelings that don't just go for the monster but which he pretty much shares witht the reader too. It goes along great with the great epic story Beowulf and a after a while it will also be considered a classic right along with it. John Gardner put a lot of work on this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2000

    The Anti-Hero Struggles Against the Nihilistic Void

    Marvelous. Written almost 30 years ago, Grendel by John Gardner has lost none of its nihilistic punch. Exposed to the novel half of those 30 years ago I had to experience it again after reading the critically lauded Seamus Heaney version of Beowulf. Greeting me once more were meditations on the dark existential void, religion, politics, and science by a creature, not too unlike us in our fears and hopes, who continued to strive to make sense of the universe and his place in it. Alternating between the sublime Orwellian double-talk of the minstrel Shaper and the cold, condescendingly bleak philosophy of the Dragon, Grendel struggles for meaning. Told that his life and energies exist only for man to define himself against, he finds small consolation. Still, Grendel throws himself on the mercy of the men in a Frankenstein¿s monster effort to be accepted¿ to no avail, deciding after that `why should I not¿ destroy them . At times darkly humourous, and touching, the creature muses on the beauty of Hrothgar¿s placid, sacrificing wife before attempting to kill her, and plays with the fallen hero Unferth before Beowulf¿s arrival. As those familiar with the epic know, Beowulf in the original poem arrives from across the sea to save Hrothgar¿s hall by doing battle with Grendel, his mother, and eventually the Dragon. Grendel senses Beowulf¿s arrival and marvels at the concept of fear. Familiarity with the story makes the inevitability of the conflict all the more delicious when Grendel finally realizes his purpose and observes `I cannot believe such monstrous energy of grief would lead to nothing¿ the reader is left to answer that it did not lead to nothing, it was a necessary component in an incredible story, told from the historical antagonist¿s point of view. Highly recommended to be read along with Beowulf.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 1999

    A modern literary masterpiece

    Grendel was required reading for my high school junior class, and I initially greeted the work with dread. That was until I read through the first chapter. It is a piece filled with meanings, allusions, and a detailed glimpse into the distraught mind of one of the greatest monsters ever written. Grendel looks at the world through the eyes of a nihilist, and lives in consant war. However, this battle is not with the Geats, but the two parts that make up his whole, and his quest to find balance in everything. I enjoyed the zodiac and Biblical references, and all of the hidden truths waiting to be discovered. Perhaps a bit obsene for some, but not enough so that it should be overlooked. This book may convince you that tedium IS the worst pain. Recommended.

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