Wednesday, May 21, 2008

THE GARGOYLE by Andrew Davidson

First time Canadian author Andrew Davidson's novel The Gargoyle is an intriguing, unexpected story. The narrator, who is never given a name, is an unapologetic drug addict and pornographer who admits that he has never known love. He is driving in a drug-induced haze when his car sails off of a cliff into the ravine below. He is severely burned and narrowly escapes death. As he lays in his hospital bed he plans his suicide in detail, believing that he could never live with what his body has become.

Marianne Engel, a temporary patient in the psychiatric ward, enters his room one day and speaks to him as if she knows him, though he has never seen her before. She claims that she was born in the year 1300 and that they had been married when they both lived in Medieval Germany. She is a sculptor of stone gargoyles and she says that the talent does not belong to her but that she is guided by God to produce her statues. Though the narrator thinks that she must be mentally ill, he is nevertheless drawn to her and to the stories that she tells him. They become close and when he is released from the hospital she takes him into her home. Unfortunately he continues his addictions, this time to morphine, and has a hard time letting go of his lifetime habits.

This book centers on the gradual redemption of the narrator's soul and the fulfillment of Marianne Engel's life purpose. The author weaves in references to and instances from Dante's Inferno that illustrate the narrator's hellish journey from his pre-accident immoral life to the ultimate decision that redeems him.

I found this book well written with vividly described scenes and interesting historical detail. The storyline was fascinating, though the ending stops short of answering all of the reader's questions. It is among the most unique novels that I have ever read.

The Gargoyle is scheduled to be published on August 5, 2008 by Doubleday.


Anonymous said...

Wow this sounds very good. I'll have to add it to my TBR list. I've also just added you to my LibraryThing Bloggers page, so drop by to make sure your name and link are correct :)

Becca said...

I kept hearing such good things about this book that I finally had to break down and read it. I wasn’t sure what I thought at first but it was so different from anything else I had ever read that I was quickly fascinated. It was one of the only times I was satisfied with an ending that didn’t answer all my questions.

tashiana said...

this sounds very interesting
i love when characters go insane
that symbolism of never naming the character--love it!
cool review

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About Me

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.