Monday, May 18, 2009

Book Review: The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson


First, I must thank Debbie of Suburb Sanity for recommending The Gargoyle to me. This is undoubtedly the most unique and fascinating book I've read in a long time. I just LOVED it! In many ways I felt as though the author had written this book with me in mind. It seemed that every page revealed some other little element that just so happens to be something that interests, fascinates or intrigues me - books, libraries, librarians, Illuminated texts, the middle ages, gargoyles, Galileo, time travel and even my phobia of snakes shows up as a metaphor for the narrator's pain. *cue Twilight Zone music.*

The Gargoyle tells the story of the nameless narrator, a cynical and self-absorbed pornographer and drug addict, who is severely burned in a car crash. Soon his friends and associates stop visiting him and he loses his business. However, during his long recovery in the burn unit, he is visited by an alluring, though obviously unstable, sculptress who claims that they were lovers in a past life. Marianne Engel continues to visit the narrator during his hospital stay and regales him with stories of their past life and other ancient legends of undying love. Eventually the narrator is released to Marianne's care and he finds himself, for the first time in his life, growing to care about someone other than himself. In time, Marianne's instability becomes more pronounced and the narrator find himself becoming her caregiver. But during her lucid moments, Marianne continues to weave her story of past life and love. A story that the narrator finds interesting, but that he does not believe to be true. And all the while he is desperately trying to save Marianne from her increasingly severe madness.

Andrew Davidson is a master storyteller. He skillfully teases the reader with the slow unfolding of Marianne's story of past life and love. I found myself, much like the narrator, anxious to hear the next "chapter" in her story. In addition, the other legends of undying love, which are woven into the narrative, are then cleverly tied into the present with incredible deftness. Awesome. Being that the book was so brilliant, unique and fascinating, I was expecting some equally clever ending. While it wasn't as jaw droppingly unique as I was expecting, it was still very good. And it does leave the reader wondering and questioning. It's one of those books where you immediately want to ask someone else who has read the book - "what do you think THAT was all about?" I LOVE when that happens in a book. And it doesn't happen all that often. So, if you've read this already or are planning on reading it, I'd love to hear what you think.


Image from Google Images

16 comments:

Tammy Howard said...

Wow, not even putting that one on the "books I want to get around to" list - picking it up at B&N when I go for my coffee date this morning... (that sounds REALLY good!)

Pam said...

Tammy - Oh goodie! Can't wait to hear what you think.

Anita said...

I've got a huge stack of books I am determined to read............so this would be way down on the list. It does sound interesting. I need something on CD for the long drive to Texas, but I'm going to need it PG rated for family listening....LOL.

kel said...

I started to read this once, but I am very queasy and there was some graphic paragraph or something and I had to put it down. (yes, I really am THAT queasy.. I will pass out just reading about blood.)

Pam said...

Anita - I have a similar list and it is soooo long I will probably never get to the bottom of it. Especially since I keep adding more books almost daily. This is definitely not a family friendly book. To Kill a Mockingbird would be a good choice for a family road trip!

Kel - This book is definitely not for the squeamish. Better to pass on this one! Hey, thanks for becoming my newest follower. I appreciate it!

Sandy said...

This sounds terrific! I ordered it as soon as I read your review and pick it up tomorrow! Will need it on vacation.

Pam said...

Sandy - This will be a great vacation read! Enjoy it!

Gibby said...

Oh, excellent, I have been looking for a good book to read. Just finished one and I hate not having another lined up.

Debbie said...

How fun! I'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. And I'm thrilled several of your readers are going to take the plunge as well. No, it is not a family friendly book. But it is an excellent book.
You write a terrific review. I could so learn from you:)
And love the quote from the book in your sidebar.
So, what are you going to read next?

Pam said...

Gibby - Having a book "on deck" is essential! Glad you decided to read this one. I hope you like it. Let me know what you think.

Debbie - Thank you for the compliment and for recommending this intriguing book to me. I never would have found it otherwise. Currently, I'm reading a book for my personal book club called Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney. It is definitely a light, fluffy, chick lit type book. Not my favorite genre, but it is an easy and quick read. It's tough to read something so "fluffy" after finishing something as bold and creative as The Gargoyle. It's like eating a tootsie roll after having just finished the most luscious bar of dark chocolate imaginable. Blech!

Gamma Sharon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gamma Sharon said...

Wow, that book sounds like something I want to read right now. I am going into town and see if they have it... if not I am going to order it from my bookclub.

Pam said...

Sharon - I hope you enjoy it. Keep me posted, I'd love to know what you think.

Anonymous said...

What is the german poem in the book? Loved it by the way. Great read..

Anonymous said...

Whats the german poem in the book? loved it by the way, great read.
junemolloy@gmail.com

Shanny said...

I read and enjoyed this book. I do have to say that there were a few moments that I felt like I was pushing myself to push on thru the book, though. Very powerful visuals and really strong writing in the beginning chapters.
A great read.

 

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