On a burn ward, a man lies between living and dying, so disfigured that no one from his past life would even recognize him. His only comfort comes from imagining various inventive ways to end his misery. Then a woman named Marianne Engel walks into his hospital room, a wild-haired, schizophrenic sculptress on the lam from the psych ward upstairs, who insists that she knows him – that she has known him, in fact, for seven hundred years. She remembers vividly when they met, in another hospital ward at a convent in medieval Germany, when she was a nun and he was a wounded mercenary left to die. If he has forgotten this, he is not to worry: she will prove it to him.
And so Marianne Engel begins to tell him their story, carving away his disbelief and slowly drawing him into the orbit and power of a word he'd never uttered: love.
From the Hardcover edition.
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It was Good Friday and the stars were just starting to dissolve into the dawn. As I drove, I stroked the scar on my chest, by habit. My eyes were heavy and my vision unfocused, not surprising given that I’d spent the night hunched over a...
1. Dante’s Inferno
First published in 1314, this epic poem is the first “song” in Dante Alighieri’s three-part Divine Comedy; subsequent canticles describe Purgatory and Paradise. In The Inferno, Virgil guides Dante through the underworld, comprising nine concentric...
“There is an admirable clarity to his prose, a careful avoidance of the kind of turgid or melodramatic sentences one finds in lesser writers….The Gargoyle does not disappoint….Sweeping, intergenerational, wholly implausible, unapologetically melodramatic, and absolutely absorbing. While reading it I rolled my eyes more times than I care to remember; it was, at the same time, impossible to put down..”
— The Globe and Mail
“Following close behind David Wroblewski's The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and Brunonia Barry's The Lace Reader, The Gargoyle is another in this summer's extraordinary series of million-dollar debuts from unknown writers that combine elements of mystery and mysticism….I dare you to read this without flinching. It's as engrossing as it is gruesome, the kind of horror you watch with one eye closed.”
— The Washington Post
“You want to be lost in its pages, immersed in the unfolding tale of the human gargoyle and a flesh and blood wraith. In the final analysis, the real tragedy of this book is that it ends.”
— New York Daily News
“Mr. Davidson paints an engaging if not scintillating tableau.”
— The Wall Street Journal
“It's wildly romantic, a la Diana Gabaldon, but anchored by a 21st-century sensibility that owes more to Chuck Palahniuk.”
— Winnipeg Free Press
“In the first 4 1/2 pages of The Gargoyle, it's clear that Davidson can spin an electrifying yarn.”
— The Vancouver Sun
“A wild page-turner and a boldly impudent work that flirts with the trappings of gothic romances, historical novels and fantasies while skirting their clichés and remaining defiantly unique.”
— Edmonton Sun
“Davidson’s debut is storytelling at its finest, featuring a lively assortment of characters and events that combine in a gripping drama that will keep readers’ attention through the very last page. An essential summer book; highly recommended.”
— Library Journal
“[A] deliriously ambitious debut novel.”
— Kirkus (starred review)
"I was blown away by Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle. . . . A hypnotic, horrifying, astonishing novel that manages, against all odds, to be redemptive."
— Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants
“After 44 years of reading anything I could get my hands on, including Moby Dick, reading Andrew Davidson’s debut novel made me feel as if I were done. The Gargoyle had it all — all I’d ever wanted or needed from a book….[The] characters are rich and knowing, the imagery breathtaking, the voice and rhythm unfailing.”
— The Raabe Review
From the Hardcover edition.