Author: Andrew Davidson
Genre: Romance, Mystery/Thriller
Published: 2008, 465 pages
Challenge: Thriller & Suspense Challenge 2010
From the Cover
On a dark road in the middle of the night, a car plunges down into a ravine. The driver survives the crash, but suffers horrible burns over much of his body. As he recovers from hospital, planning his suicide, a strange woman appears at the foot of his bed, insisting she saved his life a century ago. Spanning medieval Germany, Japan, Iceland, and beyond, The Gargoyle is a mesmerising novel of death, history, obsession, and faith..
Let me just begin with these four little words... I LOVED THIS BOOK. It's been awhile since I've read a novel that is filled with such raw passion and intriguing mystery, and this book definitely has both. Written in the first person, The Gargoyle centers on the narrator (nameless) and a woman called Marianne Engel. When the narrator finds himself scarred for life and hospitalised due to severe burns, a woman by the name of Marianne Engel mysteriously appears in his life. Marianne Engel is an exotic and beautiful woman who claims that she was born in Germany in the year 1300 and has known the narrator for hundreds of years. The narrator is an atheist and pessimist who thinks that his life is no longer worth living due to his grotesquely disformed figure, post car-crash. Whilst he thinks that Marianne is suffering from psychological issues, he can't help but become mesmerised by her countless stories of love, war, courage and history. As the narrator goes through the process of physical healing, Marianne closely becomes an ally in his process of emotional recovery as well.
What's most interesting about this book is that it is dark and twisted, yet invokes passion and beauty all at the same time. I guess this is mainly due to the two main characters above, where one has given up on life, whilst the other breathes life. There were two main things that kept me turning the pages furiously:
1) The constant flits between the past and the present. This is where the reader is taken from the hospital room to the pages of history, and where the mystery of how Marianne came to know the narrator is slowly unraveled.
2) The various stories of undying love and passion (as narrated by Marianne) orginating from Italy, London, Japan and Iceland. My favorite one (and I think this is true for many others who have read the book) would be the tale of the Japanese woman, Sei.
An extremely commendable debut from Davidson, this is a highly recommended book that should not escape anyone's attention. On a final note, I found this cool book trailer from Doubleday with comments from Davidson himself. Enjoy the show!