Grendel by John Gardner This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 6, 2010
Grendel is an introspective look at one of the most horrendous creatures in Anglo-Saxon literature. Through his fantastical fiction writing, John Gardner chooses to show the reader a different side of the monster from the mythical tale of Beowulf. Instead of showcasing the nihilistic, violent ­nature frequently associated with the beast, he takes a closer look at the character and shows just how he became the horrible being of King Hrothgar's ­nightmares. With this book, Gardner shows his readers that sometimes the things we ­believe to be terrors are simply misunderstood.

The story is a retelling of ­Beowulf from Grendel's perspective. Grendel begins by ­explaining his 12-year war with Hrothgar and how stupid he ­believes the quarrel is. The novel then goes back in time to reveal how the feud began and escalated to become the epic battle between Grendel and the great warrior Beowulf. Gardner follows the original plot, now through the eyes of the villain, so readers who know the story aren't in for many surprises. But the book offers readers an existential perspective, and Gardner's view of the tale is both interesting and refreshing.

I would definitely recommend the book to anyone who wants to think outside the box of normal good guy/bad guy tales, and learn that everything that occurs was affected by a previous encounter.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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