Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Monday, October 5, 2009

"The Gargoyle" by Andrew Davidson

I didn't really like this book very much. It wasn't boring, and it wasn't poorly written, but it just wasn't a favorite. My biggest problem was the main character. The title, of course, refers to him. He was a horrible person on the inside even before he became a misshapen burn victim. And, beyond abandoning his suicide plans and opening himself up enough to fall in love for the first time, his misfortunes didn't do much in the way of improving his values. The back cover promised me that this novel "manages, against all odds, to be redemptive," so I kept reading, but I ended up disappointed.

I did like the love stories that Marianne Engel told to the narrator. (When I first started writing this entry I was halfway through the book, and when I wanted to type the narrator's name here I didn't know if I was having a brain fart or if I really did not know the main character's name. And then, in flipping through the book to try to remember his name I happened to glimpse on the last page the sentence fragment "after Marianne's disappearance..." Ugh. Way to ruin the story for myself. Only to find that the narrator is never named). SO, back to my original point. I like the stories Marianne tells to The Burned Man--the four he wrote out and bound for her with the title "The Lovers' Tales, as told by Marianne Engel" and gave to her for Christmas--but that's about all I really liked of the book.

Another complaint: the Marianne Engel of present day and the 14th century nun Marianne don't seem like the same person to me. They don't have the same personality, there is nothing of the manic or schizophrenic in Original Marianne, and I don't even picture them looking the same. (Marianne Engel has that crazy wild dark hair; I don't recall whether Original Marianne was ever described, but in my mind she is mousy and slight).

My favorite line: "Leave it to a Viking to disarm you with eloquence when you least expect it." Ever since I read that I've been scheming to work that into conversation....

1 comment:

Kat's pages said...

this book sure has nice cover art. I like your list of books to read and have read quite a few of them. You might want to give a try. You could easily trade for some of the classics. I use it all the time.