THE GARGOYLE by Andrew Davidson
‚ÄúI could feel my hair catch fire, then I could smell it. My flesh began to singe as if I were a scrap of meat newly thrown into the barbecue, and then I could hear the bubbling of my skin as the flames kissed it. I could not reach my head to extinguish my flaming hair.‚ÄĚ
Review by Bonnie Brody (NOV 21, 2009)
The Gargoyle is one of the most gripping novels I have ever read. I am not one to¬†usually read books more than once and I can probably count on two hands those¬†novels that I‚Äôve read two or three times. This is my second reading of The Gargoyle and it is even better the second time around.
The book is a first person narrative, told by a man who is severely burned in a car¬†accident. He is driving in a ritzy sports car, stoned on cocaine, alcohol and¬†other drugs du jour, when his car goes out of control. The bottle of booze he has¬†been drinking from is held between his legs (a most unfortunate place for it to be)¬†and when the car explodes in a wreck of fire, most all of his body turns to cinder.¬†He is not expected to live, but miraculously he does. While recuperating in a¬†rehabilitation hospital, he reflects on his past life as a good looking stud, a¬†pornographer, drug addict, alcoholic and sex addict. He sees his life as valueless¬†but does not know how to turn himself around. He is now a “monster” to most who¬†see him – - a man without a face and with most of his body parts missing. He is¬†in constant pain and his hospital rehabilitation is an effort that will take years¬†to complete.
Amazingly, one day he is lying in his bed when a young woman named Marianne Engel,¬†walks up to him and says quite simply, ‚ÄúYou‚Äôve been burned. Again.” ¬†Marianne is a¬†patient in the psychiatric ward but believes absolutely that she has known this¬†burnt man in a prior life, some time in the early 1300‚Äôs when she was a nun and a¬†scribe in the German village of Engelthal. Is she schizophrenic as her diagnosis¬†reads or is she telling the truth? This is a hard question to cipher and forms the¬†crux of the book.
The book is chilling in that Marianne knows many things about her paramour , things¬†both simple and sublime. One amazing fact is that he was born with a small scar¬†right near his heart and Marianne is aware of that. She is also aware of his life¬†history, those events they shared and those that he suffered on his own.
I read this book with chills going up and down my spine, trying to decipher the¬†truth(s) of the story as Marianne tells it. She captures her lover by telling him¬†Scheherazade ‚Äď like stories, one after the other, all about their lives together,
one story more interesting than the next.
Supposedly, Marianne is one of the great scribes of the town of Engelthal, writing¬†a new version of the bible and a copy of Dante‚Äôs Inferno. Her style and script are¬†unique and beautiful, not to be confused with anyone else‚Äôs.
What is revealed from these nights of stories after stories is that theirs was a¬†great love, one that is to be repeated forever, through eternity. Whether the¬†reader is a believer or a doubter, there is there is always the great question – -¬†Could this have been possible? Is it still possible? Will this great love repeat¬†itself through eternity?
Davidson is a writer of remarkable talent. I found it impossible to believe that¬†this was his debut novel. He is able to combine several genres – - the¬†psychological thriller, historical fiction, horror, and mythology. His genre is¬†unique, and I, for one, was grasped from the first page and the story never left me¬†outside its grip.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 313 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Anchor; First Edition edition (August 4, 2009)|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Andrew Davidson|
|EXTRAS:||Excerpt and Interview and Reader’s Guide|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||Other explorations of “past lives:”
Diary by Chuck Palahuniuk
Fangland by John Marks
Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy
- The Gargoyle (August 2008)
November 21, 2009
¬∑ Judi Clark ¬∑ No Comments
Tags: Addiction, Gothic, Horror, Mental Health/Illness, Supernatural ¬∑ Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Horror, Psychological Suspense, Speculative (Beyond Reality)