The Gargoyle

The Gargoyle

Book - 2008
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An extraordinary debut novel of love that survives the fires of hell and transcends the boundaries of time.

On a burn ward, a man lies between living and dying, so disfigured that no one from his past life would even recognize him. His only comfort comes from imagining various inventive ways to end his misery. Then a woman named Marianne Engel walks into his hospital room, a wild-haired, schizophrenic sculptress on the lam from the psych ward upstairs, who insists that she knows him - that she has known him, in fact, for seven hundred years. She remembers vividly when they met, in another hospital ward at a convent in medieval Germany, when she was a nun and he was a wounded mercenary left to die. If he has forgotten this, he is not to worry: she will prove it to him.

And so Marianne Engel begins to tell him their story, carving away his disbelief and slowly drawing him into the orbit and power of a word he'd never uttered: love.


From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, c2008.
ISBN: 9780307356789
Branch Call Number: DAV
Characteristics: 468 p.

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r
ryner
Oct 14, 2016

Inebriated and in the throes of a drug-induced hallucination, our morally bankrupt narrator drives off a mountain slope and wakes up in a hospital burn ward. Upon realizing the extent of his injuries and losses he half-heartedly humors his care specialists, but in fact has plans to commit suicide upon his release in the most spectacular manner imaginable -- that is, until Marianne Engel walks into his hospital room and captivates him with tales of their life together...in the 1300s.

One thought-provoking passage caught my eye: "I understand that some people find God after misfortune, although this seems to me even more ridiculous than finding Him in good times [...] It's like not wanting a romantic relationship until a member of the opposite sex punches you in the face."

I loved Marianne's stories from the past, and found them almost more charming than the goings-on of the present. The ending could have been stronger, but overall: recommended.

“Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost.”
― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
It is a rare thing these days to find a book that has it all. Davidson tells a beautiful love story of a modern man who lived a pretty hard life until he was burned and, then, found his love, true friends and a purpose in life.
The modern love story is told through other love stories of many countries, cultures and times. Love, loss, death and Dante. This is a story that will stay with you forever. #RDReads

d
dlh1
Jan 14, 2015

I read this 6 years ago and it still has stuck with me as one of the best novels ever written. Definitely worth reading again.

s
Sargay
Nov 23, 2014

This book is absolutely magnificent and had earned it's place as my favourite novel. I wish I could express just how absolutely amazed I was by this book. The writing is absolutely beautiful and the imagery was probably the most vivid I've ever read. The story was engaging and kept you interested throughout the whole book despite about half of it taking place in a single room. The characters were brilliantly written and felt very real, and all the little stories told in the novel were tied in beautifully at the end, and honestly I have no words that can truly describe how amazing this book is. It's something I would recommend to anyone because it is honestly the best book I've ever read.

n
Nunca1
Aug 21, 2014

This is my favorite book ever! i absolutely loved it, so much that when i finished it, I told my husband that i was going to read it again starting tomorrow! I hope that it won't take Andrew Davidson 9 years to write his second novel!

A patron review from the Adult Summer Game: "Amazing narrative. You can feel his pain- physically- through the words. Pulls at the heart strings and leaves you on the edge of your seat."

6
671books
Jul 07, 2014

I loved the background and historical context for this book. I'd say it is definitely aimed more to women than men though.

Full review here: http://www.671books.net/fiction/the-gargoyle/

mamabuzz Jul 29, 2013

incredibly written novel. joy to read.

aghostdream Jul 22, 2013

Andrew Davidson's debut novel is something he should be very proud of.

The level of detail he includes reminded me of James Frey's style of writing, but somehow in a far more elegant fashion. This novel offers so much to the reader, it's difficult to touch on every benefit in a short review.

When asked what my favourite novel is, this has been my answer for quite a while. It's a story backed with research, it's full of depth, and it will leave you speechless by the end.

k
kleinkid7
Mar 20, 2013

This story starts with the gruesome details of crippling car accident and moves into a tale of how the survivor, at first determined to end his life, discovers he has come under the care of a woman who claims they have been lovers in several different lifetimes overs hundreds of years. Great characters and enjoyable side stories of (alleged) past lives make this a very interesting read.

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HerpyDerp Aug 31, 2012

Sexual Content: huh

b
Berth
Apr 05, 2009

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

b
Berth
Apr 05, 2009

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

f
FLmummy
Aug 21, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

f
FLmummy
Aug 21, 2008

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

f
FLmummy
Aug 21, 2008

Violence: This title contains Violence.

f
FLmummy
Aug 21, 2008

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

f
FLmummy
Aug 21, 2008

Violence: This title contains Violence.

f
FLmummy
Aug 21, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Age Suitability

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HerpyDerp Aug 31, 2012

HerpyDerp thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 30

d
Dustij
May 17, 2011

Dustij thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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f
FLmummy
Aug 21, 2008

“Davidson’s debut is storytelling at its finest, featuring a lively assortment of characters and events that combine in a gripping drama that will keep readers’ attention through the very last page. An essential summer book; highly recommended.”
–Library Journal

“[A] deliriously ambitious debut novel.”
–Kirkus (starred review)

–"I was blown away by Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle. . . . A hypnotic, horrifying, astonishing novel that manages, against all odds, to be redemptive."
Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

“After 44 years of reading anything I could get my hands on, including Moby-Dick, reading Andrew Davidson’s debut novel made me feel as if I were done. The Gargoyle had it all – all I’d ever wanted or needed from a book….[The] characters are rich and knowing, the imagery breathtaking, the voice and rhythm unfailing.”
–The Raabe Review

f
FLmummy
Aug 21, 2008

"Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love." -- opening line from The Gargoyle

Summary

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f
FLmummy
Aug 21, 2008

An extraordinary debut novel of love that survives the fires of hell and transcends the boundaries of time.

On a burn ward, a man lies between living and dying, so disfigured that no one from his past life would even recognize him. His only comfort comes from imagining various inventive ways to end his misery. Then a woman named Marianne Engel walks into his hospital room, a wild-haired, schizophrenic sculptress on the lam from the psych ward upstairs, who insists that she knows him – that she has known him, in fact, for seven hundred years. She remembers vividly when they met, in another hospital ward at a convent in medieval Germany, when she was a nun and he was a wounded mercenary left to die. If he has forgotten this, he is not to worry: she will prove it to him.

And so Marianne Engel begins to tell him their story, carving away his disbelief and slowly drawing him into the orbit and power of a word he'd never uttered: love.

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