The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, 465 pages
3rd Canadian Book Challenge, randomhouse
I wish I had read Dante's Inferno at some point in my life, because this book is based on and uses Inferno as a major reference. I still really enjoyed The Gargoyle, but I can imagine the layers of the story that would be enhanced for a more knowledgeable reader.
See the red heart on the back of the body on the cover? The heart is cut away and when the dust jacket comes off, the book itself is gorgeous! See my picture below. This is a nice symbolism because the cover shows a tattooed back and the book is about a man who is burned, but underneath all that, it is a story about love and the flames of hell.
The unnamed narrator is planning his suicide after enduring horrific burns in an accident, when Marianne walks into his hospital room. She lets him know that they have known each other for seven hundred years and proceeds to tell him their story from 1300s Germany, as well as several other wonderful and tragic love stories. Marianne helps the narrator through his difficult treatments and to get on with his life. All of these different and equally interesting strands come together with page-turning excitement at the end.
I really liked the love stories, the somewhat humorous narrator, the information on scriptoriums, the medieval history, and the mystery of finding out who exactly Marianne is. Some people have found the hospital scenes of the burn treatments pretty graphic, but once you get by the first section, that doesn't become an issue any more. I was initially worried about reading this book due to some mixed reviews (which I can't find now, maybe I dreamed them?) but it far and above lived up to my expectations and I had a great read.
aaron at that's the book,
terri at tip of the iceberg,
Marj at Reading Adventures
Jackie at FarmLaneBooks
Margaret at BooksPlease
Chris at book-a-rama
Look at the cover I found under the dust jacket! I think part of why it took me so long to read this book was that I loved carrying it around and reading from it.