Grak hates things. Lots of things. And with a peculiar intensity too.
Grak's contempt is so strong, in fact, that it often leaves his fellow tribesmen bewildered. And when attempting to describe his personality, they find themselves in need of words with greater nuance. "Neurotic" is typically used. "Sociopath" and "narcissist" are also common terms. The most popular descriptor, however, is "pathological."
Grak, on the other hand, sees his situation in a rather different light. He finds his behavior "necessary" and "selfless," or even "benevolent" when his mood is just so. Most often, though, he simply attributes his nature to "being human."
But of all the things Grak despises, his antipathy for olives takes precedence. In his efforts to be rid of this nuisance, he gets his first taste of power and ignites a series of events with troubling consequences. Unwilling to give up his newfound influence, he sets about honing his only true talent: manipulation. But as his grip tightens, Grak's naively selfish exterior crumbles to reveal a dark and malicious evil ...
In his debut work, author Peter J Story brews a robust psychological satire infused with dry humor and a pinch of emotion. Set just prior to recorded history, Things Grak Hates chronicles the life of a bizarre nomad and his descent toward evil. Along the way, this unconventional allegory explores a variety of complex issues. Among them: power, politics, religion, redemption, the dissemination of ideas, and human nature itself.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.88(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Keegan Kang for Readers' Favorite Grak is a small-minded, self-centered nomad living in a tribe before pre-recorded history. And as the title of the book - Things Grak Hates - says, he hates things. Lots and lots of things. When things don't go his way, he blames everyone but himself. When things do, he takes the credit for them instead. Due to a fortuitous event manufactured by him, Grak becomes the leader of his tribe; a tribe which never had a leader before. Author Peter J. Story plausibly weaves Grak's interactions as the leader with other characters in the novel, letting us see how Grak misinterprets almost everything that the tribespeople do, by believing that every action is either for his benefit or acting against him. The novel chronicles the consequences of Grak suddenly taking over leadership of his tribe, and explores the outcomes of his decisions. The conclusion of Things Grak Hates may not be satisfying to some readers, but it does give a contrast to Grak's actions. I felt that this work was brilliantly written, as Things Grak Hates can be read in two different ways. The first way is treating it like an ordinary story about a nomad's life in a tribe. But upon re-reading the novel, parallels can be drawn between Grak's actions and major themes in history. Suppression of information, harsh punishments for dissenters, and twisting the truth to suit one's agenda come up again and again in history, and it is easy to compare Grak's journey as a dictator against these events. At times when reading the novel, I felt that if the names of the characters were changed, and the events in the novel were modified, it could be a biography of most dictators rising to power so kudos to author Peter J. Story! Surprisingly, I found it easy to relate to Grak, perhaps due to the fact that all of us have a little Grak in ourselves. While I disliked Grak by the end of the novel, I at least understood his actions. Overall, this is one of the better books I have read and I have no difficulty giving it 5 stars.
Peter J Story’s debut novel begins simply: “Grak hates olives.” As it turns out, Grak hates a fair number of things, and the list just grows as the story progresses. This eccentric nomad will go to any lengths to avoid – or eliminate – the people, tasks and things on his list. From simple manipulation and deception, Grak descends into ever-deeper depravity until even those closest to him become disposable pawns in his pursuit of power. Things Grak Hates is a simple story at first blush; however, it quickly becomes apparent that much is brewing just beneath the surface. This unconventional novel takes a brave look at humanity gone awry. The author examines such complex topics as power and politics, human nature and the dissemination of ideas. And he does so in one of the very best ways (in this reviewer’s humble opinion): satire. When one takes a good, hard look at something so complex – and often, so dark – as human nature, I find that it helps to do so with a bit of levity. Mr. Story has accomplished this beautifully in Things Grak Hates. Rather than a depressing tale of a depraved soul, readers will find a truly humorous, enjoyable tale (even if it hits close to home). As I read this book, I couldn’t help but feel that I was looking in the mirror at times. I chuckled and then cringed as I recognized many of my own less-favorable traits portrayed in this caricaturized protagonist. Mr. Story has captured the many flaws inherent in the human race and condensed them into a single character that every reader will love to hate. Yet at the same time, we’ll all cut him some slack. After all, there’s a little bit of Grak in each of us. Ultimately, this novel shows how quickly human nature can spiral out of control when left unchecked. Small character flaws can spread and evolve exponentially until a person is committing acts of which they never thought themselves capable. Story is a gifted and witty wordsmith, and I believe that readers will be quickly won over by his well-crafted characters, clever dialogue, and wry sense of humor. He doesn’t pull punches, yet he manages to remain hopeful despite his cynicism.