A few thoughts (without much spoilers) on The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson.
It’s not often that my first thought after reading a book is: “I wish I’d written that”. You’d think that a writing-heart like mine would desire to have written the classics, Ulysses by James Joyce or perhaps The Trial by Kafka but that’s not necessarily the case. It’s easy to admire the work without desiring that the idea for it was yours, without desiring that the words were ever yours. Once in a blue moon a book sneaks its way to my nightstand though and from there it seems like such a short way to my heart but of course that road is rough and paved with traps.
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson is one of those books that traveled easily from my nightstand to my heart. It’s an epic love story, a story of life and death, a story of religion, of battle between good and evil, the topics are endless but mostly it’s the story of a man who is burned badly in an accident and on his road to recovery he meets the love of his life(s).
There are many subtexts in Davidson’s book and it’s a joy to see the references and play along with the game he plays with these texts. His work seem to me to be thoroughly thought out and very well researched. It was a pleasant experience to see the Icelandic vikings correctly named and the Icelandic perfect. It is (sadly & strangely) rare to see all such small facts correct in modern fiction.
I loved the stories told and the characters thoroughly jumped out of the pages. The gargoyle morphing throughout the book is interesting and represents the constant battle between good and evil. He transforms from a pretty, narcissistic pornstar to a deformed, emasculated, lovefool. The boundary between the dark and the light are always fading, changing and slipping away. There are no clean lines, no clear borders. What you see isn’t always what you get.
Mostly though I loved the adventure. In the sea of modern literature it’s not often you stumble upon a true adventure. The kind that would have made H.C. Andersen or the Grim brother’s proud but this is such an adventure. This book is larger than life, the text is ambitious without being full of itself, it’s easily read and still magnificently prolific.
The burned man’s journey through hell (through morphine abstinance) was my favorite part of the story. It was during that part that my face turned green with envy and I wished I had come up with this complex, magnificent tale. You will have other favorite parts and if you are ready to be awed and a little heartbroken you really should pick up this book. It’s more than just a love story, more than just an adventure, it is literature at its best.