Sunday, August 9, 2009

Grendel, John Gardner

4 stars
Gardner takes one of the greatest poetic myths (Beowulf) and offers a modern retelling through the first person account of the antagonist, Grendel the dragon. On one level the novel is an exploration of good and evil and I came away with a reminder how vile and dissenting evil can be. Grendel is wicked and yet as Gardner constructs the inner workings of the beast and lets us into his mind, the reader is able to see the complexity of our own nature and what does or does not drive us.

Knowing the epic poem Beowulf will be an added benefit to this read and is highly recommended. Besides, literature that has hung around for 1000 years has stood the test of time. I thoroughly enjoyed this translation.

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