Andrew Davidson’s first published novel and international best seller, The Gargoyle combines passion and an eclectic mixture of ingredients; contemporary drama, tragic romanticism, star crossed lovers, theological mysteries, burns, blisters and bleeding hearts, which make it an exceptionally engaging read.
The first-person account of our nameless protagonist makes a compelling vessel in which to experience the story through. The narrative is emboldened by his raw honesty and the unrelenting thoroughness of his research and by contrast of his initially stony and skeptical perspective, Marianne Engel fascinates and mesmerises with her enchanting tales, mysterious behaviour and unfaltering beliefs.
The wonderfully tragic love stories give the novel a depth that go beyond a conventional romance. There is an underlying idealism about 'love that transcends the boundaries of time and space'. They read like fables and reveal how imbedded fairytales are in modern culture. Characters with strong principles that sacrifice their lives and beliefs for qualities that makes them romantic heroes. “Any man who believes he can describe love,” I answered, “understands nothing about it.” Sacrifice by commiting a sin- visit Hell unless repent which avoids hell. Sacrifice more than lives but their immortal souls. They give up more their lives for love but their immortal souls, as expressed when the narrator is in Hell 'suicides' murders are all Hell.
The stark reality of the hospital ward and the narrator's trailer park childhood contrast with the extravagant love story that takes place in the 14th century until Marianne's fantastical story immerses the present day minutiae.
Davidson takes authentic historical locations and events, famous literature and influential religious texts and weaves them into a fantasy story that is alive through it's characters who seem to plead for a place in history. As well as using religious references, the snippets of text book information add an interesting informative spin to the novel and give the narrator credibililty in his accounts. By laying down the facts for us before presenting Marianne's version of events, the reader is given an active part in the novel by having the choice to disregard some of the narrator's more cynical conclusions in favour of the more psychologically unreliable yet somehow more convincing secondary character.
Davidson's prose is highly visceral, poetic and almost theatrical in it's use of imagery. To assist the images and add another dimension to the scope of imagination the novel comes with a ready made sound track. So long, Marianne by Leonard Cohen is a perfect way to see the novel off and wish farewell to a captivating and wonderfully affecting character.
If there is any complaint with The Gargoyle
'Andrew Davidson has written an unforgettable and original tale of redemptive love that will sear itself onto your imagination.' Waterstones Books Quarterly
'Compulsively readable . . . the pages almost turn themselves.' Metro
'A big, bold novel, a metaphysical mystery that reads like a thriller, its narrative flashing from modern trailer oarks to fourteenth-century Germany.' Guardian
'Mixing romance, classic allusion and reality, Davidson's debut is a bravura performance.' Marie Claire
'Spellbinding.' Kirkus Reviews
'Wildly imaginative . . . Bound to be an international bestseller.' Observer
'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