An amazing first novel from Andrew Davidson, his descriptive writing is incredibly realistic and the opening scenes of the novel, where the protagonist survives (if you can call it survival) a car crash are particularly gruesome.
Did I enjoy this novel, well to be perfectly honest even after reading all 500 pages I am still not really sure. I know this does not make sense but novels with an allegorical tale are rarely if ever a genre I read from choice. So why did I read it, one it was a recommendation and secondly I found it strangely fascinating!
The unnamed protagonist suffers the most horrendous burns apparently not for the first time in his existence as this story crosses the boundaries of time. The love of his ‘lives’ Marianne Engel appears at his bedside to help him survive his modern day burns ordeal. The stories of their previous love affairs are narrated to him by Marianne and interspersed amongst the present day events and their growing relationship.
In this life the protagonist is or rather was before his accident not a very pleasant young man, a pornographer and drug addict. Now he looks like a monster as well as behaving like one, so he plans to commit suicide as soon as he is released from hospital. That is until Marianne arrives at his hospital bedside to befriend him, a strange and possibly psychotic woman, a sculptress who claims they were lovers in previous lives. Our narrator although is intrigued by her tales of their previous love affairs in lives in 14C Germany, Medieval Japan, Viking Iceland, Italy and England.
Already an international literary sensation, The Gargoyle is being called a Dante’s Inferno for modern times, which will have you believing in the impossible. Maybe, maybe not! Read it for yourself and see what you think.
I gave this 8* at Bookcrossing not necessarily because I liked it that much but because I think it is an extremely well written novel.