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The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

The Gargoyle (2008)

by Andrew Davidson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,5602652,219 (3.97)286
  1. 80
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind (spiphany)
  2. 62
    Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen (heidilove)
    heidilove: If the power of story compels you, you'll like this as well.
  3. 20
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both novels have a generally dark mood and complex characters who are searching for answers. The Gargoyle is more graphic and violent, but both weave together the past and present in an intricate plot that encourages self-reflection.
  4. 31
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (jujuvail)
  5. 10
    Diary by Chuck Palahniuk (twomoredays)
    twomoredays: Though very different, the entire time I was reading The Gargoyle I was reminded of Palahniuk's work. Marianne of The Gargoyle reminds me of some of Palahniuk's female characters, but at the same time everything is cast in such a different light in Davidson's work. It is certainly a book that fans of Diary should investigate.… (more)
  6. 00
    Ferney by James Long (shelfoflisa)
    shelfoflisa: Similar theme of a life repeated and two souls linked together through time, but less violent!
  7. 00
    Avalon by Anya Seton (themephi)
  8. 00
    The Reincarnationist by M. J. Rose (leahsimone)
  9. 00
    Heart of Stone by C. E. Murphy (leahsimone)
  10. 12
    Sunshine by Robin McKinley (leahsimone)

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» See also 286 mentions

English (252)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (264)
Showing 1-5 of 252 (next | show all)
A fascinating tale that is expertly woven together. One of the best books I've read. ( )
  skraft001 | Mar 3, 2019 |
I originally attempted to read this book back when it was released. At that time It was one of the most anticipated books of that year. Thus I wanted to really like the book but found myself really turned off by it and not at all feeling any empathy towards the characters. After only getting to about page sixty four, I put the book down. As the years passed, this book kept slipping further down my to be read pile.

This year I made it a goal to try to read some of the books that have been on my to be read pile for the longest. This book was one of them. Because it has been years; I started at the beginning with a new slate. Some of the things that really turned my off, I tried to look past. I was not feeling the point of this book other than it seemed to be how much is too much. Well for me it did not take much and after getting to about page one hundred and twenty I was down with this book for good. I did jump ahead some to see if anything would spark my interest but nothing did. ( )
  Cherylk | Dec 9, 2018 |
A couple books I've read in the past two years have really surprised me. [b:The Gargoyle|2595138|The Gargoyle|Andrew Davidson|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CL5+xAfzL._SL75_.jpg|3149511] is one of them! [b:Middlesex|2187|Middlesex|Jeffrey Eugenides|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266448283s/2187.jpg|1352495] was the other.

In [b:Middlesex|2187|Middlesex|Jeffrey Eugenides|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266448283s/2187.jpg|1352495] the scene that plays over and over in my mind is the Detroit July '67 race riot/revolution scene. The violence starts on 12th street and the child protagonist travels through the spreading flames, shooting, and disruption on her bike heading for her dad's restaurant. Just as she arrives at her destination, a Molotov cocktail sets her dad's Zebra Room afire . The thought she reads on her father's face as he decides how hard to fight the fire is the question of : "How would he ever run a restaurant in this neighborhood again?"

You don't have to be a genius to recognize that the people of Detroit have been asking themselves that question ever since? No one won anything that day.

From [b:Lost Detroit: Stories Behind the Motor City's Majestic Ruins|8863055|Lost Detroit Stories Behind the Motor City's Majestic Ruins|Dan Austin|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1285039698s/8863055.jpg|13738366] photos by [a:Sean Doerr|4194106|Sean Doerr|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1291228944p2/4194106.jpg].

That burning restaurant scene provides a good segue into [a:Andrew Davidson|149883|Andrew Davidson|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1206647233p2/149883.jpg]'s [b:The Gargoyle|7038791|The Gargoyle|Andrew Davidson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1267017905s/7038791.jpg|3149511] where the thought is expressed that: "All history is just one man trying to take something away from another man, and usually it doesn't really belong to either of them.".

What surprised me about [b:The Gargoyle|7038791|The Gargoyle|Andrew Davidson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1267017905s/7038791.jpg|3149511] was the sheer elegance of its structure. It is like a musical composition that symmetrically builds itself up note by note, pretends to crescendo, and then leads the listener to another place altogether than the one where they originally expected to go. The way the structure of the story then folds back on itself, but heads off in a different direction than it builds up, makes it a joy to read and to remember reading.

GR author, [a:Linda Robinson|31290|Linda Robinson|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg] said of[b:Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre: The Ruins of Detroit|8030644|Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre The Ruins of Detroit|Yves Marchand|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1277163964s/8030644.jpg|12632699]: . Detroit is a mess, yes, like so many American industrial cities. Detroit ain't dead, mon ami: and it is not these photographers' neighborhood. It's my neighborhood. .

Linda's spirited optimism for her city, a human being's potential to grow in goodness in spite of (or because of) a broken body, a cold heart, or a checkered past is like the momentum that builds in [b:The Gargoyle|2595138|The Gargoyle|Andrew Davidson|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CL5+xAfzL._SL75_.jpg|3149511]. What follows destruction can be as important as what causes it in the first place. If taking your mind 'round and about that notion appeals to you, then [b:The Gargoyle|2595138|The Gargoyle|Andrew Davidson|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CL5+xAfzL._SL75_.jpg|3149511] belongs on your to-read shelf! ( )
  nkmunn | Nov 17, 2018 |
This was a very interesting novel. It's about a man who gets severly burned in a car accident. The story details his recovery and his relationship with an unusual woman named Marianne Engel. He meets her while in the hospital and discovers that she is a psychiatric patient. She proceeds to tell him fascinating stories of when they first meet in the 14th century. According to her, her purpose is to create gargoyles (she carves them) and give them the extra hearts that she has.

It took me a while to get into this story, but I am so glad that I stuck with it. The description of his recovery was horrific. I would never have expected it to occur the way it did nor the length of time it would take. Marianne, however, was the shining star in this novel. She told her stories with such conviction, that it leaves the reader wondering if her tales could actually have happened. I would definitely recommend reading this. 4.5 stars ( )
1 vote mitabird | Jun 10, 2018 |
The stories by Marianne were full of life and I wanted them to continue although knowing it was important to go back to the real story. ( )
  Derby75 | May 8, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 252 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrew Davidsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Biersma, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gall, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoppe, LincolnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Love is as strong as death, as hard as Hell." Death separates the soul from the body, but love separates all things from the soul. - Meister Eckhart, German mystic. Sermon: "Eternal Birth".
First words
Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love.
Someday you'll have to learn that your big mouth is the front gate of all your misfortunes.
Love is an action you must repeat ceaselessly.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Canonical DDC/MDS

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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The nameless and beautiful narrator of "The Gargoyle" is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He crashes into a ravine and wakes up in a burns ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned. His life is over - he is now a monster. But in fact it is only just beginning. One day, Marianne Engel, a wild and compelling sculptress of gargoyles, enters his life and tells him that they were once lovers in medieval Germany. In her telling, he was a badly burned mercenary and she was a nun and a scribe who nursed him back to health in the famed monastery of Engelthal. As she spins her tale, Scheherazade fashion, and relates equally mesmerising stories of deathless love in Japan, Greenland, Italy and England, he finds himself drawn back to life - and, finally, to love.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385524943, Hardcover)

Product Description
An extraordinary debut novel of love that survives the fires of hell and transcends the boundaries of time.

The narrator of The Gargoyle is a very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, who dwells in the moral vacuum that is modern life. As the book opens, he is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He crashes into a ravine and suffers horrible burns over much of his body. As he recovers in a burn ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned, he awaits the day when he can leave the hospital and commit carefully planned suicide—for he is now a monster in appearance as well as in soul.

A beautiful and compelling, but clearly unhinged, sculptress of gargoyles by the name of Marianne Engel appears at the foot of his bed and insists that they were once lovers in medieval Germany. In her telling, he was a badly injured mercenary and she was a nun and scribe in the famed monastery of Engelthal who nursed him back to health. As she spins their tale in Scheherazade fashion and relates equally mesmerizing stories of deathless love in Japan, Iceland, Italy, and England, he finds himself drawn back to life—and, finally, in love. He is released into Marianne's care and takes up residence in her huge stone house. But all is not well. For one thing, the pull of his past sins becomes ever more powerful as the morphine he is prescribed becomes ever more addictive. For another, Marianne receives word from God that she has only twenty-seven sculptures left to complete—and her time on earth will be finished.

Already an international literary sensation, The Gargoyle is an Inferno for our time. It will have you believing in the impossible.

Andrew Davidson Talks About Becoming a Writer
Some of what follows is true.

When I was about seven, I had a turtle named Stripe. I decided, because I liked my turtle and Jacques Cousteau, that I wanted to be a marine biologist. This ambition lasted until I was ten years old, when I spent a year gazing into the abyss, hoping that the abyss would not gaze back at me. At eleven, I longed for a master to teach me the secrets of the ninja, but the teacher did not appear; this probably means that as a student I was not ready. As I entered my teens, I set my heart upon becoming a professional hockey player. On weekend nights, the final game at the local arena ended around 10 p.m. but the icemaker was unable to leave the building until about midnight, as he had to clean the dressing rooms and do maintenance. I bribed him with presents of Aqua Velva aftershave to let me play alone on the rink until he headed home. Despite my devotion, I never developed the skills to make it off the small-town rink and into the big leagues. My dream shattered, at sixteen I started to spend more time writing. I began by changing the lyrics to Doors songs. I rewrote "Break On Through" so that it became "Live to Die": "Soldier in the forest / dodging bullets thick / only took one / to make him cry / All of us just live to die." Clearly, writing was my future.

I soon realized that, since I still had no authorial voice of my own, I should at least imitate better poets than Jim Morrison. Soon I was word-raping Leonard Cohen, e.e. cummings, Sylvia Plath, William Blake, and John Milton. After writing much abusively derivative poetry, I moved onto stage plays written in a mockery of the style of Tennessee Williams, which also didn’t work out so well. Next, I tried to put baby in a corner, until it was explained to me that nobody puts baby in a corner. Following this, I produced short stories that would have been much better if they were much shorter. Then, screenplays that even Alan Smithee wouldn’t direct.

Somewhere along the way, I managed to get a degree in English Literature; this was strange, as I thought I was studying cardiology. Undaunted, off to Vancouver Film School I went, but naturally not to study film. Instead, I took the new media course, because there was this thing called the internet that was just taking off. I also spent a fair amount of time using digital editing software for video and audio. An example project: I slowed down the final movement to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, looped it backwards, put in a heavy drumbeat, and end up with a funeral dirge. "Ode to Joy"? I think not. "Ode to Bleakness" is more like it; I was very deep, and showed it by destroying joy.

After this course finished, I had tens of thousands of dollars of student debt, and could no longer avoid getting a job. I soon discovered, in no uncertain terms, that work is no fun. I stuck it out for as long as I could, which was way less than a lifetime. As my thirtieth birthday approached, I became incredibly aware that I had never lived abroad, so I moved to Japan.

I had no idea if I would like Japan, but I vowed to stick it out for a year. I did, and then another year, and another, and another, and another. In the beginning, I worked as a kind of substitute teacher of English, covering stints in classrooms that needed a temporary instructor. I lived in fifteen different cities during my first two years, traveling from the northern island of Hokkaido all the way down to the southern island of Okinawa. It was a great introduction to the country, but eventually the constant relocation became too much. I got a job in a Tokyo office, writing English lessons for Japanese learners on the internet. I lived in the big city for three years, and loved it: hooray for sushi, hooray for sumo, and hooray for cartoon mascots.

While in Japan, I entertained myself by writing and, having already mangled poetry, short stories, stage plays and screenplays, I thought it was time to give a novel a shot. A strange thing happened: I found that I don’t write like other people when it comes to novels—or at least, none of which I know. It’s true that I’ve read comparisons of my novel to a number of other books—The Name of the Rose, The English Patient, The Shadow of the Wind—but I haven’t read any of them. (To my great shame, really, and I suppose I should. Since they are my supposed influences, I should become familiar with them. I’ll appear more intelligent in interviews.)

I liked writing The Gargoyle, and I think I’ll write another novel. If I can, I’ll make up new characters and a new plot. That’s my plan.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:48 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, crashes his car into a ravine and suffers horrible burns over much of his body. As he recovers in a burn ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned, he awaits the day when he can leave the hospital and commit carefully planned suicide--for he is now a monster in appearance as well as in soul. Then a beautiful and compelling, but clearly unhinged, sculptress of gargoyles by the name of Marianne Engel appears at the foot of his bed and tells him that they were once lovers in medieval Germany.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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Canongate Books

2 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 1847671683, 1847671691

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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