Search Results: "John Gardner"


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

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

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

JASON AND MEDEIA by John Gardner
Released: June 1, 1973

"Perhaps, after all, encounters with antiquity are better left to Europeans."
John Gardner is a writer of great energy and intellectual inventiveness, saturated in an imagination addicted to myth, mostly the existential sort, man creating his own myths about the self, about order, about love, as the world surrounding him falls to pieces, becomes increasingly chaotic or mindless or threatening. 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

NICKEL MOUNTAIN by John Gardner
Released: Dec. 5, 1973

"Sort of like Our Town, an old-fashioned tableau — and as plain as a pineboard coffin."
"A Pastoral Novel," so subtitled and altogether free of those Sunlight Dialogues — actually closest in design and intent to Gardner's first book The Resurrection and once again a small town in the Catskills circumscribes whatever takes place here. . . the features of ordinary life — universals you might say — all moving to the same terminus, death. 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

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

Released: Jan. 11, 1983

"Repetitious and disorganized, heavier on rhetoric than step-by-step guidance—but sure to interest creative-writing teachers and, to a lesser extent, beginning writers."
Like On Becoming a Novelist (p. 428), these lecture/instructions on writing—completed before novelist/teacher Gardner's death last year—involve an often-dense mixture of theory, philosophy, and practical technical matters. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

THE RESURRECTION by John Gardner
Released: June 20, 1966

"But if it fails, it is perhaps because it has been doomed to begin with by the very nature of its attempt."
John Gardner is a thoughtful, indeed ruminative, but straightforward writer, rather like George P. Elliott; ideas rather than people concern him. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

STILLNESS AND SHADOWS by John Gardner
Released: May 12, 1986

"Delbanco's reconstruction brings up that question and also this one: with literary friends like this, do you need enemies?"
Novelist Nicholas Delbanco, Gardner's literary executor, has taken it upon himself to give to posthumous (and not intended to be published) Gardner manuscripts the pitiless light of day. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

GILGAMESH by John R. Maier
translated by John R. Maier, edited by John Gardner
Released: Oct. 5, 1984

"But any intelligent effort to popularize that enigmatic primeval masterpiece is more than welcome."
Too fussy and detailed for the casual reader, too amateurish for the scholar, this curious collaboration between novelist Gardner (completed just before his fatal motorcycle crash in 1982) and English professor Maier (SUNY, Brockport), with help from Assyriologist Richard A. Henshaw (Colgate Rochester Div. Read full book review >