Liked It12 of 14 members found this review helpful
“One fantastic perk of working for a bookstore is that I receive ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of soon-to-be published titles. Sometimes they’re good, and sometimes they’re not so good, but most of the time, they leave me feeling pretty ho-hum. When I received The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, I...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It2 of 11 members found this review helpful
“(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)
“Wonderful and captivating. An epic love story one never quite forgets. A real page turner. A ne'er do well who is critically burned meets what appears to be a crazy woman, who insists they have been in love for centuries. The story that is told of them and between them was wonderful. I couldn't put it down. One of my favorite books this year. Now reading Jaqueline Mitchard's Still Summer, which may end up being like Jaqueline Sheehan's Now and Then. A good passer for the plane, but not comparable to some of my more recent reads.”Amy F. wrote this review 10 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I'm not sure what it was about this book but it was both interesting and unbearably boring at the same time.
The narrator is a modern man, burned in a car accident who had been a porn star and director prior to the accident. He was also a drug addict and alcoholic - two things that caused the inciting incident of the car crash he was burned in.
Enter a psych patient who claims that the narrator and she have known each other in previous lives and there is the mixture of the story.
There are inserted asides from the narrator's subconscience who he refers to as the "bitchsnake" because that is what it feels like to him, a snake that has inhabited his spinal cord with its tongue lashing at the base of his brain.
Up to page 200 is set in the hospital burn ward but is so unbelievably dull that I can't stand it, but you need to read through it to understand the cynicsm of the main character and how the psych patient changes it.
In the end, the jumbled past life stories do come together and you are given over to understand exactly what has gone on before and why the narrator and the psych patient are brought together but it takes a long, winding, hard road to get there.
Some people may be able to get through this book in a day, it took me nearly a week and a half because I was bored.”
“This novel has several interwoven stories. There is the contemporary story of the unnamed first person narrator, a burn victim, and his romance with Marianne Engel--who believes she first loved him in 14th Century Germany--that story she tells him in Scheherazade fashion, a bit at a time. There are stories within the story she tells set in medieval Iceland, Japan, Italy and in Victorian England. (These tales, especially "The Glassblower's Apprentice" and "Sigwort's Gift" were beguiling).
This is a page-turner without a doubt--once I started it, I could barely put it down until the end and I did enjoy the ride. The narrative propulsion was certainly necessary for getting through the first 50 pages or so, which are gruesome with their description of the protagonist's burn injuries and their treatment. Yet these were among the more fascinating parts of the book and my favorite portion is his time spent on the burn ward--I liked the characters we meet there--like Sayuri Mizumoto, Nan Edwards and Gregor Hnaciuk.
At the same time, the central romance never really clicked with me. Maybe because Marianne is this mixture of Mary Sue and the kind of person from whom I'd back away slowly. Maybe because I never believed the development of the narrator's love for her or the arc of his spiritual growth. Maybe because I find the entire reincarnation thing a bit too pat and not something I find believable or could just take as fantastical.
Yet none of those things kept me from enjoying this book as a good read, and I can see picking up future books from the author. The style is clean, often vivid, and never dull.”
“Favorite ”Harley Stenzel wrote this review Monday, September 9, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Let me begin by saying that when I first picked up The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson I was not at all prepared for the experience of being so thoroughly enthralled by it, just as I was not at all prepared for the astoundingly horrific details, as expressed firsthand by the primary male character as he graphically explains every detail of what it is to be burned alive and all that comes medically speaking thereafter. My skin felt like it was literally crawling during the first few chapters--Davidson couldn't have described the second-by-second process from beginning to end any better.
The Gargoyle reminds me very much of the Beauty and the Beast theme, as well as the more recently known, Beastly, in terms of the overall idea behind the story's context. However, it's much more than just any old retelling of a story--it's truly original. Morbidly beautiful, intellectual, romantic, brutal, and spiritual, The Gargoyle tells of two lovers journeys throughout the course of history into modern day, both thoroughly broken by the events of their lives individually. Yet when they find each other, they redefine the meaning of truly unconditional love and the notion of soul mates. Much of this is achieved through the telling of their past lives as known by the lead female character--how they have found and loved one another in many lifetimes across the span of history and time. Amongst every lifetime there is a deeply felt connection to the belief in God, emboldened ever more by the role Dante's Inferno plays to the context of the story.
I honestly have noting to say of which I didn't love of this story. This is a book that I would keep for all of my days and then some by passing it along down the family tree. You have to read this book! It's so much more beautiful than I could ever adequately put into words, with so many complexities and lessons taught between the lines. The Gargoyle is quite simply the perfect read. ”
“On a dark road in the middle of the night, a car plunges into a ravine. The driver survives the crash, but his injuries confine him to a hospital burn unit. There the mysterious Marianne Engel, a sculptress of grotesques, enters his life insisting they were lovers in medieval Germany, when he was a mercenary and she was a scribe in the monastery of Engelthal. Horrible book.”Bev wrote this review Tuesday, August 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The Gargoyle is a beautiful and haunting tale about one man’s journey to love.
After a car accident lands him in the burn ward, an unnamed man is ready to end it all. After all, his life wasn’t that great to begin with. Raised by lowlife parents and seemingly destined for the rougher side of life, he found his calling in the porn industry. Now that his most prized possession (he penis, in case you’re wondering) has been lost to fire, his “friends” have bailed. It all seems pointless until Marienne Engel walks into the ward and changes his life with her beautiful stories and slightly demented demeanor. Davidson’s years of research have certainly paid off. His prose and attention to detail are a marvel. His characters are some of the most complex I’ve ever read. The burned man begins as something despicable and completely unrelatable and morphs into a man with purpose. Marienne’s love stories and the parallels to Inferno only complement an already epic story. The shifting chapters flow seamlessly. This, my friends, is the product of an incredible writer with an incredible editor.
This will appeal to those interested in literary fiction and complex tales. Davidson is an author to watch.”
“This is the story of a morally degenerate porn star who has a catastrophic car accident brought on by drug-fueled hallucinations. Upon waking up in the horrific reality of a burn ward, he soon despairs of life as his body and face are now scarred beyond recognition. Just as he gives up all hope, he meets a mysterious and quite obviously insane woman named Marianne Engel. She tells him that she is 700 years old and they were once lovers in Medieval Germany. Swept up in Marianne's allure, the unnamed narrator soon finds a new and unexpected reason to live.
This book was... okay. I liked the flashbacks to the Medieval love story, but much of the modern portion of the story was bland. In the end, I felt the characters weren't properly developed and ultimate conclusion of the novel failed to bring sufficient closure to the novel's many loose ends. Looking back I find myself wondering, "What was the point?" of this or that plot device. Interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying. ”