Beowulf: Background information when reading Grendel's Guide to Love and War

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Grendel's Guide to Love and War

by A. E. Kaplan

Grendel's Guide to Love and War by A. E. Kaplan
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  • Published:
    Apr 2017, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Matt Grant

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Beowulf

Grendel's Guide to Love and War is a contemporary retelling of the epic poem Beowulf. In the author's note at the end of the novel, A.E. Kaplan says that when she first read Beowulf, she remembers feeling sorry for Grendel. "The poor fellow is minding his own business, living in his lake with his mother, when Hrothgar and company show up and ruin the neighborhood. He's stuck with these inconsiderate bastards who keep him up all night with their drunken carousing until one evening, thoroughly fed up, he arrives at one of their parties slavering with rage and eats everyone." In Grendel's Guide to Love and War, Tom Grendel is a 17-year-old who mows neighborhood lawns, and who must defend his quiet neighborhood from a group of hard-partying teenagers. Tom is an affable dork, but in the original epic poem, Grendel is anything but lovable.

Set in sixth-century Scandinavia, Beowulf clocks in at over 3,000 lines and evokes a pre-Christian, Germanic warrior culture. Beowulf is the earliest...

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