The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
Release date: August 5, 2008
Everyone has had the experience. You’re sitting in traffic forever, seemingly for no reason. Suddenly, up ahead, you can see cars start to move again. As you get up to that point, you realize that there has been an horrific car accident on the side of the road and traffic is backed up because everyone slowed or stopped to watch, their curiosity mixed with distaste.
Normally those people drive me crazy but, with Andrew Davidson’s “The Gargoyle,” I was one of those people. Through the first few chapters especially I read in horror and awe, wanting but unable to look away. Within that period of time the narrator actually described both his (literal) ghastly car accident that leaves him horribly burned and disfigured and his (metaphorical) train wreck of a life to that point. In all honesty, during part of those chapters, I felt physically ill.
It is a testament to the author’s skill that I continued to read. Normally books that elicit such a visceral reaction really aren’t my cup of tea. However, Davidson’s writing was as beautiful as the details were disgusting. I was literally unable to tear myself away from the pages, other than to look at the back of the book in disbelief to confirm that, yes, this really IS his first novel.
I truly had no idea where this story was going to go and was surprised to find a very moving love story. Actually a number of very moving love stories. While hospitalized for his burns, the narrator meets a woman named Marianne, a sculptor of gargoyles who is convinced that she and the narrator were married 700 years ago when he was in a different life.
The story is funny, sweet, touching, and unpredictable. I absolutely recommend it, although I do want to warn readers of graphic imagery and language.