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Grendel (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

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Overview

The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic BEOWULF, tells his side of the story.

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Grendel

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Overview

The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic BEOWULF, tells his side of the story.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780808566489
  • Publisher: Demco Media
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: THIS EDITION IS INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 204 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(57)

4 Star

(45)

3 Star

(44)

2 Star

(31)

1 Star

(27)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 205 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    Philosophical Musings at Their Best

    Reversing the heroic epic of Beowulf, this novel attacks life from the side of the monster thrown into society. Good and evil, instincts versus reason, and existential wonderings make this novel a must for everyone trying to reason out his or her meaning in life. Gardner's Grendel is an antihero of self doubt, hatred, murderous rage, vengeful, and grotesque- the reader will fall in love with him.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2006

    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 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.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2003

    sorry, i had to post an essay for class, bash it all you like though, thats what its there for...

    Grendel has a sarcastic and cynical mind, which serves to entertain both him and the reader. Through his expositions of situations, we see humor where others would simply see violence, and irony where others only fact. These others are the humans, the Danes, unwitting neighbors of Grendel, forced to stand night after night of slaughter. What is a traumatic and terrifying experience for them, is simply a game to Grendel, and the reader. Grendel bursts in on the Danes, ready to kill, and they squeak. They are funny in their fear, laughable in their drunken fighting. The reader is focused on Grendel¿s perception of the Danes. The deaths go by easily, because of the humor involved. It does not cross the reader¿s mind that these are people Grendle is killing. The humor allows the reader to sympathize with Grendel¿s position, that of the predator. The prey is not meaningful, only nutritious and entertaining. It is a macabre humor, which accentuates how no death is noble, it is simply death. By making the Danes un-heroic and un-ideal, cowards and drunkards, the author is presenting the reality through the humor. In contrast to the drunken lurching of the others, Unferth comes toward Grendel with speeches and bravery. He is a puffed up as a peacock, proud and ready to die for his king, his people, his ideal. Grendel simply states, ¿He was one of those.¿ Grendel sees Unferth with a clear and unbiased mind. He is ridiculous. His exaggerated heroism, his words, even his first move, to scuttle sideways like a crab from thirty feet away, is laughable. Grendle does with him what he does with no other Dane in the story, he talks. Unferth offers Grendle death, and Grendle sends back taunts. The reason this scene is funny is because the taunts are sharply accurate. The self-sacrificing hero is shown to be a spotlight loving fool, serving only his own reputation. Grendel continues talking to Unferth, making the poor wretch angrier by the moment. At one point, he compares Unferth to a harvest virgin. Unferth attempts to begin his own speeches, but is always cut off by Grendel, who has another barb to throw at him. Finally, Unferth screams and charges, his voice breaking. This scene, of escalating argument, presents a different type of humor. While the first was a slapstick, exaggerated and dark humor, the argument is more sarcastic, intelligent and cutting. It exposes the cruel reality of the hero; he serves only himself and his fame when helping others. When Unferth charges him, Grendel does the unthinkable. He throws an apple at him. Unferth is astonished, and even loses his heroic vocabulary. He continues charging, and Grendel continues the barrage of apples. This scene is pure humiliation for Unferth, pure delight for Grendel, and entertaining for the reader. Grendel, murderer and monster, is hitting the hero with simple red apples. By doing this, he is breaking any type of significance the battle could ever have. The bards cannot sing of how the monster threw apples. It is symbolically important that Grendel throws apples. Unferth symbolizes a virgin, pure in ideal and purpose. The apple brought down the first virgin, Eve, as these apples bring him down. They represent the truth, the knowledge that Grendle is pelting him with. The hero ends up on the floor crying, and Grendel remarks to him ¿Such is life¿such is dignity.¿ This remark holds no pity, only scorn, and is funny in its viciousness. Most of the humor in the novel is followed by some of the most chilling and melancholic pieces of prose. This contrast of the humoristic with the somber makes the despair Grendel feels a more striking emotion. Before being completely exposed to nihilism and solitude by the Dragon, Grendel is compared to a bunny rabbit because he was startled. The monster that terrified the Danes is terrified by the Dragon, who continues poking fun at him and his fear. The reader is presented with the impotent figure of Grendel, trying desperately to react in so

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    Good, fast read

    Grendel provides the reader with Grendels perspective on the Epic poem Beowulf. It gives the reader the reasons behind Grendels attacks and why he always spared two people in particular. This gives light on the poem that I as a reader took and I now understand the plot much better since i have an explanation behind the monsters seemingly pointless rampages.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    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 back and forth between flashbacks and current events.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Not bad at all.

    I¿d recommend reading Grendel by John Gardner as long as you¿ve fulfilled a few criteria: you read (AND ENJOYED) Beowulf and you are genuinely interested in the character Grendel in it. This may seem a bit too obvious, but I went into this novel with no care for the character and a decent understanding of the events of Beowulf. I didn¿t like the book at first but it grew on me. It shows an incredible new side to someone that I had assumed was just a monster. The story goes along the lines of showing how Grendel grew up and what led to his death in Beowulf. As long as you like Beowulf and are interested in Grendel as a character, you will enjoy this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

    worst book i've ever read

    friends and i had a book-burning party after reading it.

    3 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2005

    EXCELLENT BOOK: wish I could give it 10 stars

    John Gardner is positively the best writer in the world. I wish he were alive today to produce more works like this. Grendel is deeply philosophical and rapturously complex in its content. John Gardner (this work in particular) has inspired me to become the writer that I am today. I will forever have nothing to say but excellent things when speaking or dissecting this brilliant work. It was awesome and I beckon you to read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2012

    Confusing

    I had to read the book Grendel for my English class. At first I thought the book was interesting because it was in the view point of the monster Grendel from the original epic poem Beowulf. As I got in to the book I found it to be very confusing and hard to understand. The amount of flashbacks and the story going back in forth in time made it really hard to follow. Even though I found the book interesting I wouldn’t recommend it. You’re better off just reading Beowulf.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2005

    This book is awesome

    I picked this book up quite by accident, as it was one of my father's old books hanging around the house. I was floored. This narrative of the Beowulf tale from the Monster's point of view is stunning. It brings you into Grendel's mind and lets you experience the raw,elemental nature of the beast. You get the sense Grendel is more than a being, but part of the very forces of nature that surround the human race. His being embodies these forces and matches them with an uncivilized mind. This creates an innocence that is fascinating, terrifying and pitiful. Grendel creates a contrast to the human being which is disturbingly unflattering for you and I . Read it and savor earth, wind and fire from the inside of a brilliant character. You'll be rooting for the monster.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2012

    Good concept, poorly executed.

    Grendel looked at first to be an interesting new perspective on the epic Beowulf but, ended up being a confusing mess. At points I found myself reading but not really paying attention because the story had gotten so confusing during Grendel's rambling. I understand that Grendel's rants show his Identity struggle but theres a point when it's just too much.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Grendel Review

    As a reader of Shamus Heaney¿s poem Beowulf, I have a wealth of background on the character of Grendel. Heaney conveys to the reader the wickedness of Grendel, describing him on many accounts as being brutal towards all humanity. On the other hand, John Gardner¿s novel Grendel distinguishes Grendel as a troubled being who just so happens to be a monster. Although Grendel has moments of utter destruction, Gardner¿s novel allows Grendel to tell his story from his point of view.<BR/>Described as a terrifying bearlike creature, Grendel is often lonely, as he lives in a cave on the outskirts of civilization. Grendel is incapable of speaking, and his only true companion is his mother. He stumbled upon human life after swimming through a lake and finding people on the other side. In the time that followed, Grendel watched as people evolved into violent, wasteful humans. Grendel experienced twelve years of clashing with humans, explaining how troubles in his life originated from fights he had in the past. Grendel met his match one night when he attacked Danish king Hrothgar¿s mead hall and encountered Swedish hero Beowulf. Beowulf got the upper hand when Grendel accidentally slipped in a puddle of blood, thus putting him out of fighting position. In desperation, Grendel attempted to flee, but it was not until Beowulf tore his arm off and left him with only minutes to live. In his dying moments, he returned to his cave, where death was looming.<BR/>Although Gardner¿s novel Grendel is a psychological masterpiece, it fails to make me see past Grendel¿s destructive behavior. Because I read Beowulf first, my view of Grendel was negative entering my read, and Grendel¿s confusion of humanity only added to my dislike of the character. Though Grendel was well written, you can blame by distaste of the character and the novel on Shamus Heaney.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2008

    Average read (Through the Eyes of a Monster)

    Until I looked at the cover of the novel Grendel, I had never even though about the motives and the emotions that drove the terrible monster to commit such atrocities within Heorot. John Gardner¿s novel Grendel gets inside the head of the antagonist from the epic poem, and allows the reader to see the events that unfurled throughout Grendel¿s life that led him to become so twisted in the first place. Throughout the novel Gardner attempts to sympathize with Grendel, and in doing so creates a character that leaves the reader torn between disgust and intrigue. Gardner¿s creativity, use of explicit language, and adequate portrayal of emotions gives the reader a good idea of the struggles and challenges that this creature faced in the ascent from childhood to adolescence, and finally adulthood. Even though I have portrayed the book favorably so far, Gardner¿s philosophical and intellectual portrayal of the monster Grendel was far from what I expected, and was the prime factor in why I disliked Gardner¿s novel Grendel. <BR/> Although overall I did not enjoy the book, Grendel did leave me with something that few novels nowadays do, a solid and meaningful theme. Gardner¿s theme of don¿t judge what you don¿t understand was a prevailing message throughout the entire novel. The theme manifests itself in many ways throughout the novel, but one of the prime examples of the theme is when the adolescent version of Grendel first tries to make contact with the humans in Hrothgar¿s town. Grendel¿s harmless attempts at friendship are met with screams and swords because the creature is a fearful sight to look at. Throughout the novel Gardner depicts many similar scenarios in which someone or something is judged just because of the way he or she looks or behaves.<BR/> The novel tells the story of Grendel¿s life from his childhood, to his death by the hands of Beowulf, and everything that happens in between. Throughout the novel, and especially in the beginning, you want to like Grendel. Gardner tries to make the reader feel some sort of connection with the main character; however, negative experiences in Grendel¿s life transform him into the nefarious and depraved creature we all know from the epic poem. All I know is that by the end of the novel the connection that I felt to Grendel had been completely severed. As you advance through the plot it becomes quite depressing how so many things can go wrong in a creature, or person¿s life. One thing that is interesting about the plot though is how Gardner develops the character we meet in Grendel, into the characters that we know and recognize from Beowulf, the most notable of these characters being Weatheow, Unferth, and Grendel.<BR/> Now that I have hit on the good parts of the novel, I will go into much greater detail as to why I did not enjoy it. Gardner¿s constant attempts to try to transform Grendel from the monster we all know from Beowulf into an intellectual and philosophical thinker was very annoying to me. Grendel¿s philosophical views on such topics as life and death, the bard that played in Heorot, and religion often led to a ten page meaningless deviation from the story. These deviations made me feel like I was reading from a psychology textbook, not a pleasure reading book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2014

    Grendel, one of the monsters that Beowulf defeats in the epic Be

    Grendel, one of the monsters that Beowulf defeats in the epic Beowulf, tells his side of the story. Grendel is frequently challenged for violence and Grendel’s nihilistic view of the world seen throughout the novel. There is violence in Grendel and some of it is explicit however at a high school reading level this sort of violence is not inappropriate. Most high school students have seen more violence on TV then they will read in this book. As for Grendel’s nihilistic view of the world, the entire novel refutes it. One of the themes in this novel is that having a positive and more hopeful outlook on life is better than wallowing in nihilism your entire life. Grendel is not the hero of this novel, in fact he is the complete opposite, and he is not even an anti-hero. Grendel is given a choice in the novel whether to choose the Dragon’s negative nihilist view or chose the Shaper’s positive more hopeful view and Grendel chooses wrong. From that point onward Grendel’s nihilism is viewed in a negative light. Eventually at the end of the book, Beowulf, who could be viewed as a hero of the novel, defeats Grendel. Beowulf who stands for the Shaper’s views defeats Grendel who stands for the Dragon’s views. In fact Beowulf is even depicted as a dragon in the last scene. Beowulf is a dragon of hope whereas the Dragon is a dragon of egotistic nihilism. While the book is from Grendel’s view the novel depicts him and his views as wrong or evil. This novel actually promotes a hopeful out view on life and therefore has no reason to be banned.

    Gardner, John. Grendel. New York: Knopf, 1971. Print.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

    Goood :)

    I found the book enjoyable but it was extremely perplexing. I had too read it over the summer for my AP English class, if you have seen the movie Beowulf (which doesnt follow the epic poem) then it will make you see Grendel in a totally different light in my case anyway. But i say it was a good read.

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  • Posted July 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    good

    good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2012

    A brilliant novel!!!!!!

    I love this book! I first read it over ten years ago for an existential literature class, and I've always considered it one of my favorite novels...it's a work of art!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2012

    Mostly filler

    Some parts, particularly the last chapter, are really good and interesting, but the rest was rather boring and didn't seem to play a big part in the plot.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    Eh!

    While i enjoyed the fresh view of the classic tale of Beowulf i found the language very difficult to follow, and hard to understand fully the first time reading. Honestly when reading the book i found myself dozing off and spacing out from sheer boredom. I would not recommend this book to any of my friends considering i have the highest reading level among us and if I didn't comprehend it, i highly doubt they will. I do believe that if the novel had been worded differently it would have been a very enjoyable read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2012

    Recommended, but not highly

    John Gardner's book "Grendel" allows readers to gain a perspective and see the world through the eyes of the monster Grendel from the original epic poem Beowulf.It's interesting because Gardner in a way through Grendel shows the reader how in today's world people who are rejected by society feel and ,in some cases, how that effects the way they act.I think it is an okay book and recommend it just for what may seem like the philosophical message in it. However, it is hard to follow and understand. Therefore, I recommend even more that you read the original Beowulf story before Grendel.

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