Grendel by John Gardner

Written in 1972 and apparently made into an animated movie, but it’s new to me! The story of Grendel by John Gardner through the monster’s eyes.

Grendel by John Gardner book cover on a desert background.

Judged a book by its cover, you did. -Yoda

That’s exactly what I did, Yoda. I know the basic story of Grendel. Something about a monster that comes to the hall each year and attacks the warriors inside. They always try to keep it out but it always wins. It’s from Beowulf, which I read a million years ago, probably in a English Literature class.

I picked Grendel by John Gardner out of my friend’s book hoard simply because of the cover. The creature looks so sad, not so horrific and mean like other renditions of it. I wanted to find out why.

Thirty pages into it this morning and I see why. This is its story. The book isn’t about the monster from someone else’s point of view. It’s told from the monster’s point of view. Why does it do this? What motivates its monstrous behavior toward the human world? I was sucked in this morning, already feeling sorry for it, wondering what will happen.

I looked up the book title and found (of course) a Wikipedia article about Grendel. I didn’t want to read too much of it for fear of spoilers, so I quickly moved over to the John Gardner’s Wikipedia article and read some there. It looks like he created a bit of controversy back in the 70’s, but who didn’t? I found that he had also written a few books on writing that were popular, and you know how much I love books about reading and writing! I’ll be adding those titles to my wish list.

Do you know this author? Sometimes I feel like I’m late in the game. I find something new and exciting, coming running in to share it, and everyone else just looks at me like I stepped out of time machine from the past. If you’ve read it, or want to read it with me, shoot over some comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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