Wednesday, August 5, 2009

BOOK: The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

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.



more reviews:
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.

7 comments:

farmlanebooks said...

My book didn't have the amazing cover yours did, but mine had black page edges - something I love!

I really enjoyed reading this book, but I wish I'd read Inferno too.

Staci said...

Now knowing about Dante I will research that a little more before I read this one!

katrina said...

The English cover is very different and had gorgeous black edged pages.
It made me wish that I had read Dante's Inferno too, something I'm always meaning to do but never quite get around to it!

Kailana said...

I loved this book. One of my favourite reads from last year. I am glad you enjoyed it. :)

raidergirl3 said...

jackie - I dont' think I actually want to read Inferno, maybe I'll glance at the sparknotes.
It's fun when the book has design elements beyond basic black. Black edges is really cool too!

staci - I don't think you need to know a lot, but a little bit. I survived without knowing much of anything.

katrina - the black edged pages sounds very neat. You'd feel like the book had been through a fire! I think the sparknotes will have to do for Inferno for me.

kailana - it was very good, I really liked the love stories within it, they's make a great book themselves

Susan said...

This is my book club read for next month....guess I'd better get a copy soon, and get reading! Your review made me feel better about the gory parts I've heard are part of it.

Scrat said...

I loved this book -- and mine had the amazing dual covers. Does anyone know if this guy has written other novels...