Search Results: "John Gardner"


BOOK REVIEW

FREDDY'S BOOK by John Gardner
Released: March 1, 1980

"Here his lumbering counterattacks and homilies pummel away whatever surface charms the story has, making this a stiff little diversion (illustrated by Daniel Biamonte) of interest mainly to tireless observers of book-world bickering."
Gardner's belief in the primacy of tale-telling (see Moral Fiction) is so firm that he doesn't mind telling us that this tale isn't exactly his own: "A key event in Freddy's Book (King Gustav and the Devil) is drawn from a tale in Mark Helprin's collection, A Dove of the East and Other Stories," explains the prefatory note. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

THE WRECKAGE OF AGATHON by John Gardner
Released: Sept. 23, 1970

"Impressive thoughts on important concerns, but not always succeeding on fictional terms."
Mad, raving old men with elegant pasts can make lunacy worth listening to—like a Shakespearean king or Mr. Gardner's Agathon, a self-styled seer holding forth at the time of the ascendance of Sparta. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

KING'S INDIAN by John Gardner
Released: Dec. 1, 1974

Midnight tales for the literary intellectual — which, you will rightly observe, could mean almost anything from Mensa-level insomniac pastime to serious brooding. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

MICKELSSON'S GHOSTS by John Gardner
Released: June 1, 1982

"In all: a fascinating, oddly depressing failure."
One of Gardner's longest novels, most personal, most ambitious—and alas, too, the most shambling and ultimately incredible. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

Released: Oct. 11, 1976

"Disappointing."
Gardner's second quartet of stories for children licks the sparkle of last year's Dragon, Dragon but suffers from the same coyness. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

THE SUNLIGHT DIALOGUES by John Gardner
Released: Dec. 6, 1972

"A complex and difficult fable of curiously American relevance; a book of bleak humors and raw surprises which mine — and sometimes undermine — the fictional ground with speculative brilliance."
Metaphysical novelist Gardner has traveled from ancient Greece (The Wreckage of Agathon, 1970) and Beowulf (Grendel, 1971) to contemporary upstate N.Y., this time with a variegated cast which reflects the heat of the central dialogue like shattered glass. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

DRAGON, DRAGON, AND OTHER TALES by John Gardner
Released: Aug. 1, 1975

"A sparkle for classroom or family aloud."
Four playful changes on traditional fairy tale themes, a bit thinner than we'd expect from the author of Grendel and occasionally descending to the level of adult archness ("Only the prince. . . remembered Chimarra's saying 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself [or something]"), but disarmingly witty and polished. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

Released: Oct. 1, 1982

"But it's hardly a fair reflection of the year's best—and perhaps this series should take on a new title if such unbalanced collections are to be expected in the future."
Since the death of Martha Foley, the Best American Short Stories series has been in the hands of annual celebrity-editors—so, while William Abrahams' O. Henry Awards collections have become ever more sturdily sound and balanced, the Best have become idiosyncratic and erratic, more a gathering of personal favorites than a trustworthy reflection of the evolving short-story scene. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

GRENDEL by John Gardner
Released: Sept. 17, 1971

"At the close one is not sure if the savior is 'blithe of his deed,' but Gardner, the word-pleaser, should be."
As in Resurrection (1966) and The Wreckage of Agathon (1970) Gardner demonstrates his agility at juggling metaphysical notions while telling a diverting tale. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

Released: April 1, 1977

"Forcefully written, provocative, and filled with a likable spirit of freewheeling evangelism."
The Chaucer revealed by the last few decades of critical scholarship is much in need of a good popular biography; the cosy trivialities of Marchette Chute's 1946 Geoffrey Chaucer of England have little to do with the joyous solempnitee and vast sophistication we now discern in the works. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

ON BECOMING A NOVELIST by John Gardner
Released: May 25, 1983

"Otherwise: for creative-writing teachers (and budding novelists) only—and, even on those terms, a mixture of the helpful and the platitudinous."
The late novelist John Gardner was also a longtime creative-writing teacher, and this small how-to book is addressed to "the beginning novelist who has already figured out that it is far more satisfying to write well than simply to write well enough to get published." Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

THE POETRY OF CHAUCER by John Gardner
Released: March 1, 1977

"For all his obvious love and learning, Gardner has failed to make his own words, as Chaucer made his, 'cousin to the deed."
The highly regarded novelist (Grendel; Jason and Medeia) is also a Middle English scholar of long standing; his biographical companion to the present volume will appear this spring. Read full book review >