Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Gargoyle ... A Review

This weeks review is a love story like no other...


The Gargoyle ... by Andrew Davidson
A love story like no other... A book that you never want to end... A book you will compare everything you read to for the next year... That is what The Gargoyle is!

The mother of the nameless protagonist dies in childbirth, so he goes to live with his grandmother who doesn't really want him. His grandmother soon dies and so he goes to live with his drug addicted aunt & uncle, who basically leave him to his own devices. His aunt & uncle soon die so he goes to live in a "home" with other children that have no families...

He's a good looking kid and as he matures he starts to "enjoy" the women around him. Eventually he is old enough to be on his own and must leave the "home" - but there are only 2 things he knows how to do well: drugs and sex. He chooses the later and becomes a porn star... Now we come to the opening of the book... He is driving home in his car. He's on cocaine and drinking bourbon from a bottle. He starts to have hallucinations and swerves to avoid what he sees, spills the bottle of bourbon all over his lap and steers his car off an embankment, rolling over multiple times on the way down until he is upside down and the car catches on fire. First place to burn - where he spilled the bourbon (alcohol and fire don't play well together!) Before he is 'saved' from the burning car, he is horribly burned over most of his body - and definitely no more porn star.

His life is basically over in his eyes, and while he is in the burn unit of a hospital where they are trying to save his life, he contemplates how he's going to kill himself once he's out. This would be funny except we are told blow by blow how his injuries occurred in the present tense and we learn graphically how a burn patient with extended injuries is treated. It made my stomach a bit queazy to read some of the procedures, but then in walks Marianne Engel. This is where the story becomes magical...

Marianne Engel walks into the hospital room of our nameless patient and proclaims that they were lovers in 14th century Germany. Marianne Engel was also a patient... a psychiatric patient. But where all his old friends from 'the business' were repulsed by his appearance and abandoned him, Marianne was not and began to visit often. And while she visits she tells these marvelous tales of love and life in medieval times where she was a nun in the famed monastery Engelthal and he was a badly injured mercenary that she nursed back to health. And she recounts other tales that span vast continents and times...

We start to look forward to the visits and the tales as much as he does. And slowly we all fall in love with Marianne Engel... It's a love story from ages ago and a love story in the present. Is true love bound by time & place?

The writing is wonderful, but the love stories are what really make the book shine. They alone could be scooped up from the pages and put down in their own book. I would say that if you read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and liked it, you will like this book as well. A bizarre & wonderful read all mixed together!

7 comments:

Funny Girl Goes Blog said...

Hi Suzanne....You have a rockin blog. I just love it. I found a blog by a young woman named Nicole. You should check it out. She is new to blogging and is off the a good start. Her poetry is good. You can find her here; http://youremysavinggrace.blogspot.com/

Suzanne said...

Hi Funny Girl! Thanks for the compliment! And telling me about Nicole's
blog! I'm going over there and checking her out now! Thanks for stopping by!

Book Bird Dog said...

I like the green theme of your blog. Nice and cool for spring! Love stories are great, aren't they? What would a book be without at least one? Thanks for the comments on my review of The Shadow of the Wind. What did you think about the love stories there?

Suzanne said...

Hi Book Bird Dog! Thanks for the thumbs up for the color change in the blog! And I thought the love stories in Shadow of the Wind were intense. Such a good book- and I didn't see that ending coming...

Nicole said...

I'm not quite sure what it is but I feel resistance to reading this book. I think I am sqeamish reading about the accident, etc. But you did a great job with your review and now it has me tempted again to pick up a copy of this book.

Suzanne said...

Hi Nicole, I was a bit queazy in spots myself, but the majority of the book was not that bad, and the tales that Marianne Engel spins are very special. If you do decide to read it, let me know what you think afterwards!

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