Saturday, January 23, 2010
3. The Gargolye
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davison
In a burn ward, a man lies between living and dying, so disfigured that no one from his past life would recognize him. Then a woman named Marianne Engel walks into his hospital room, a schizophrenic sculptress from the psych ward, who insists that she knows him - that she has known him for 700 years. She remembers vividly when they met, in a convent in medieval Germany, when she was a nun and he was a wounded mercenary left for dead. Though he has forgotten this, she will prove it to him. So Marianne Engel begins to tell him their story, shattering his disbelief and slowly drawing him back to the past: reminding him of a word he’ll never uttered, love.
Davidson was born in Manitoba and spend seven years researching his debut novel. He took the time to learn about the burn ward, Japanese and folk lore from many cultures. It’s refreshing to hear about an author who takes the time to learn their story. It made the end result nothing short of perfection. Though the recovery for burn victims is a nasty process it was a necessary cog in his master piece.
The book takes the reader on a journey into the past from medieval Germany to Vikings in Iceland. With Marianne for a tour guide into these memories the Narrator recalls his past lives and discovers something about his present state of mind.
I enjoyed reading each mini-story within the book. The stories introduce new characters and I found myself even reading them again because I started to notice similar details in each story. Davidson’s research is reflected in his vivid language to describe each new setting. At times it felt like I was the Narrator seeing these memories for the first time and experiencing emotions I might have once had.
The end of each story left the question, “can souls really transcend time” in the mind of the reader. This aspect also created a romantic love story that implied love could survive anything, from tragedy to time. By drawing on parallels from Dante’s Inferno, this question can almost be answered with certainty.
Though I would not say the book was a page-turn, or a ‘stay up till 2am’ read, I did find myself drawn to its mysteries when it stared at me from my coffee table. I find books that make you question aspects about fate and reality thrilling. The Gargoyle is not a beach read; it’s one of those ‘curl up by the fire’ books and become enlightened. I was still contemplating the questions Davidson gave me weeks after I finished the book. I do believe this book can make one believe in the impossible.
Overall: 9/10 A