An incredibly dry and hilarious, and deeply thoughtful, retelling of “Beowulf” from the perspective of Grendel. This is NOT like those books like “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs”, but instead is more like Wide Sargasso Sea or other retellings of colonial stories. And in a lot of ways, this book is like a post-colonial retelling of Beowulf. Grendel is a being, an incredibly intelligent, powerful being in the world when he comes across men (otherwise he knows the dumb animals, his chaotic and terrifying mother, and the wise, cryptic, and dangerous dragon — who we also know from Beowulf). Grendel spends his time trying to understand the world, his place in it, the nature of existence, and even the nature of seeming immortality (when he’s granted invulnerability). And when he meets men, he wants to understand them too, but they attack him and try to kill him. His subsequent attempts to interact with the are all the same with him merely defending himself against their aggression. And so when he realizes this is moot, he begins his war against them. But this is not just a war to win, it’s a war to demoralize. He can’t be killed with weapons, and so they can’t really hurt him, or not easily, so he gets bored with simply killing. And if he killed them all, then what? So he shapes their world for them. He provides the dark terror through which they understand themselves, and this pisses him off more! It’s a fun and funny book by a writer not super well-know past this one, but I am going to read more of his work. I don’t know why I waited so long to get to this one.