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Beowulf for Cretins: A Love Story

Is God in the Machine—or out to lunch? It’s Anybody’s guess.

English professor and aspiring novelist, Grace Warner spends her days teaching four sections of “Beowulf for Cretins” to bored and disinterested students at one of New England’s “hidden ivy” colleges. Not long after she is dumped by her longtime girlfriend, Grace meets the engaging and mysterious Abbie on a cross-country flight. Sparks fly on and off the plane as the two strangers give in to one night of reckless passion with no strings attached, and no contact information exchanged.

Back home at St. Albans, the college rocks Grace’s world when it announces the appointment of a new president, the first woman in its 165-year history. Cue Abbie—and cue Grace’s collision course with a neurotic dog named Grendel, a fractious rival for tenure, and a woman called Ochre, in what very well might be Grace’s last real shot at happiness.

This full-length novel reimagines and expands on the short story, “Falling From Grace,” which was originally published in the award-winning story collection, Sidecar by Ann McMan.

Awards and Honors

Winner—2019 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Romance

Shortlist—2019 Golden Crown Literary Society Ann Bannon Award

Shortlist—2018 Golden Crown Literary Society (Goldie) Award for Humorous Novel

More About Beowulf for Cretins:

“A whirlwind blend of philosophical rumination, dry humor, lesbian romance, and slice-of-life pursuit of happiness, Beowulf for Cretins is an unforgettable novel from award-winning author Ann McMan.”—Reviewer’s Bookwatch, Midwest Book Reviews

“It is hard to know where to stop with the praise—the writing is immaculate, the use of language and references to the arts and literature make for extremely scholarly characters.” —Curve Magazine

“I dare you to read this book without smiling because there’s no way that’s even possible. If you’re a fan of romance, and especially romance that’s a little different than your usual fare, I highly recommend it. And even if you’re not a fan of romance, I recommend you make an exception because this is a special book. Read it, love it, and tell all your friends when you’re done because we all need a little break these days.’ —The Lesbian Review

“Oh, how I loved Beowulf for Cretins. It’s clever, witty and just a fun read.” —Les Rêveur

“Beowulf for Cretins (Grace’s rather dispiriting assessment of the classes she teaches) is a smoothly entertaining romance that will leave you grinning at both the book and the author’s assured style. It’s really a perfect summer read.” —JERRY WHEELER, Out in Print Blog

“I cannot decide which I enjoyed more– McMan’s prose or her story— but then I really do not have to make a choice. It’s great when the style and the plot come together to give a good read. It is, above all else, the writer’s wit that makes this a fascinating read.” —AMOS LASSENReviews by Amos Lassen

“Just a perfect read which made me want to rush out and buy all of Ann McMan’s books right away.” —KATE CUDAHY, author of The Duellist Trilogy

“North Carolina author Ann McMan has a gift like few other authors. She knows how to blend comedy and sensitivity to human issues so seamlessly that reading her novels is like looking into the mirror. Funny, smart, informed, and very tender, she writes superb novels of multiple levels of interpretation. Ann is not only a fine tale spinner but also an excellent craftswoman!” —GRADY HARP, Amazon Vine Voice, Hall of Fame, Top 50 Reviewer

“Here’s the thing about Beowulf for Cretins—it’s a romance. But it’s a romance unlike others you’ve read before. Oh, it has the formula—all of the important ingredients are there. It’s what McMan does with the ingredients—how she measures them and mixes them together – that makes BfC different. This book is 1 part love story, 1 part historical reference, 2 parts literary analysis, 4 parts humor—and all parts excellent writing.” —CARLEEN SPRY, Frivolous Views Blog

Publication Date: June 2018 by Bywater Books

Distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution

Available from your local retailer, online and independent booksellers

Beowulf for Cretins is also available in the following formats:

Audiobook via Audible.com and Amazon.com

MP3 CD via Amazon.com