FicusFan's Reviews > Grendel

Grendel by John Gardner
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** spoiler alert ** This book had an interesting idea, but never pulled it off. It ended up being a rather boring slog.

It was the retelling of the Beowulf story from the the POV of the monster Grendel. The writing was spastic at best, there was not enough background depth to flesh out Grendel, or explain his observations, and the 'story' was fractured.

Gardner couldn't decide if he was going to focus on the Beowulf story from Gerndel's POV, or if he was going to write about existential angst, about the seductive power of nihilism, or the nature of forcing your life into a meaningful pattern in the face of an indifferent universe. He tried to do all, and it made the book a choppy mess. He also interspersed the story with poetry/songs in homage to the original work (Beowulf). Rather than work all the above into a seamless whole, and make an interesting story, it was served up in individual scoops that had to be powered through.

I wasn't interested in Grendel, the other people in the story, or what happened. When you know how its going to end, you need to focus on the journey, and make it outstanding. The journey here was very average, and the story was so lacking that I could only read a few pages at a time, put the book down, and didn't want to pick it back up
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Reading Progress

11/18/2008 page 55
31.61% "Interesting, oddly written"
11/22/2008 page 149
85.63% "Still oddly written, but less interesting"

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