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Bry's Bountiful Book Blog

Because I need a place where I can pretend that people are reading what I'm writing...
Grendel - John Gardner

Wow. This was a doozy of a book, and not at all what I expected. I expected a more sympathetic and in-depth look at one of the more famous monsters of literature, and this novel certainly was that. What I didn't see coming was the onion-like layers to this book. The deeper I tried to read into it, the more there was to uncover. I'm certain I missed a bunch of stuff, but it doesn't matter; I can still appreciate when an author can write a story that will reward both the casual reader and those with a more philosophical bent. Despite its occasionally confusing shifts in narrative style, this book holds appeal for both types of reader, I believe.

There was a lot to this book. One of the main elements to this novel was its refutation of Sartre (although I recognized the world-view as existential, I didn't know it was Sartre specifically that Gardner sought to lambaste - I had to Google it). Actually, this book is filled with ruminations on existentialism, nihilism, anarchism, solopsism...Gardner even takes on deism and feudalism. Then there's the whole "twelve chapters each representing a zodiacal sign" thing - I definitely didn't pick up on that one (only discovering it later while doing the aforementioned Google search). All in all, a very enjoyable book that you can get as much from as you are willing to invest in reading it.