Monday, July 13, 2009

Redemption – John Gardner



John Gardner July 21, 1933 - September 14, 1982


As mentioned in the previous post, I had to make it far into the volume before I found my favorite.


Now I can say that I had to make it just as far to find my least favorite.


Part of doing these reviews gives me a chance to do research on the authors. It’s nice to find wiki pages for some of the authors. I do check behind the pages to make sure that everything I see there is accurate. I’m glad to see that there are people out there that still respect their work and take time to create the pages for the authors. Sometimes I have to do a bit more digging but I rather enjoy it. I’ve really enjoyed discovering what has become of these authors. A far number of them were pretty established within the American literary community when their story was selection for inclusion in these collections. A good number also went along to write some pretty impressive works.


John Gardner wrote Grendel. I never had the chance to read it but it was on my list of “must reads”. I remember sitting at a bar in Waterside with a copy of “If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!” and some guy, a think it must have been a sailor, told me to read “Grendel” and “Still Life with Woodpecker”. I suppose they fall into a genre. Never read “Woodpecker” but I think I will be adopting the wearing of red socks like Robbins who got it from Leary.


Notice that I am not writing much about the actual story?


If you don’t have anything nice to say then...


Here is what I will say about the story -


Redemption is a fictionalized account of the accident that Gardner was involved in when he was a young boy. Gardner was driving a tractor when he accidentally ran over and killed his brother. As anyone would expect, Gardner carried the guilt around for a lifetime and it should be noted that it shaped his style of fiction...how could it not.


I can’t imagine how Gardner sat down at his desk and wrote out that scene. I have trouble just standing in the shower and thinking about the death of a loved one. I choke up, tears well...


His bio states that he was a favorite at The Breadloaf Writers Conference. Well, it’s in Vermont so it’s gotta be good! He also wrote a novel won the National Book Critics' Circle Award in 1976 which was set in Vermont. Niiiice. And in a final, strange sort of weird coincidence with my life...Gardner died in a motorcycle accident in Susquehanna Pennsylvania.


3 out of 10

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