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The Gargoyle


Andrew Davidson



Cover Designer:
  Patti Ratchford  
Release Date:


  Psychological fiction/Burns/Stone carvers  
Reviewed by:

"Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love." This book is possibly the most bizarre love story I've ever read. Seven sponges. That's right. On my best books ever read list. I'll try to describe, instead of gush.

Now, if you had told me before I read it that I'd like a book about a high-level porn star, a car wreck victim with severe burns, and a psych ward patient, I'd have laughed. I'm not going to pull punches here – the descriptions of the debridement of his burns and the harvesting of his healthy skin to replace the ruined are gruesome. Strangely, beautifully, believably described medical procedures told from the point of view of a seriously depressed (for good reason) man who has gone from extremely beautiful to extremely ugly. It's harsh, and I found it impossible to put down.

Enter Marianne Engel. A beautiful, talented sculptress who believes she was born in the 1400s. This crazy woman adopts our burn victim while he's in the hospital. She begins camping (sometimes literally) in his room, telling him detailed, amazing stories from all different lands and times. She brings food to accompany the stories – feasts from Japan, Iceland, Italy, etc. to match the land of the story's origin.

As the burns slowly begin to heal, we meet his doctor, her psychologist, and several nurses that come in and out of the story. He (and, I keep saying “he” because the story is told from a first person perspective, and I'm not even sure if we ever find out "his" name) becomes addicted to morphine. Marianne has several psychotic breaks usually surrounding the finish of one of her gargoyle sculptures. The two of them struggle with their individual hells as Marianne romances our main character with her bizarre stories. And it's funny. Not the knee slapping variety, but the ironic situation, "I can relate to that" kind of funny. Yeah – relating to a psycho and a burned porn star.

This story is highly engaging, ranges across multiple cultures and times including our own, and is superbly written. The discoveries the characters make about themselves and life in general are amazing and insightful. The picture painted of modern society is harsh, accurate, and tender all at the same time. You are left with a feeling that anything is possible. Not the typical fairy tale anything, but the possibility that we can create the life we want, if we are brave enough to continue.

Read this. Read this book. Whatever kind of books you generally read; this one is worth breaking out of your genre. As strange as it is, it actually covers most genres anyway.

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