The Gargoyle
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The Gargoyle

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  27,141 ratings  ·  4,288 reviews
An extraordinary debut novel of love that survives the fires of hell and transcends the boundaries of time.

The narrator of The Gargoyle is a very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, who dwells in the moral vacuum that is modern life. As the book opens, he is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He...more
Hardcover, 465 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

It's easy to take the low road whenever a subpar book with tremendous hype comes out, to comically trash that book not necessarily for its ludicrous elements but rather that a group of corporate executives decided to spend millions on it anyway. But what if that author happens to be on your friend lis...more
Nancy
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

I’m usually suspicious of over-hyped books, but a friend at the library highly recommended it.

A short way into the story, the narrator’s mom dies, his grandmother dies, he gets severely burned in a car accident, and his aunt and uncle die. I felt beat over the head with all the suffering and seriously thought about giving up reading by page 50. Then Marianne Engel, a woman with a history of mental illness, shows up in the nameless narrator’s hospital room telling a stor...more
Amy
I began to get an idea why the publisher paid $1.5 million for this novel (the highest ever paid in Canada) after the first few pages. Andrew Davidson is able to tease stories out paper with his pen like his character, Marianne, is able to tease gargoyles out of stone with a chisel. Through the mouth of Marianne and with images straight out of Dante's Inferno, he tells 700 years of stories of Marianne's reincarnations which have included whispering nuns, fiery arrows, callous mercenaries, deadly...more
Peter
I gave this almost 200 pages to win me over since it has been hyped so much and everyone seems to love it, but I had to give up on it and move on. I thought that the writing was very good, with some vivid images, especially the early one equating the narrator's burn to the pain caused by touching a hot stove--for a full minute. I also, surprisingly, enjoyed some of Marianne's tales of love.

The problem was--okay, one of the problems was--that I found them to be more interesting than her own stor...more
Jackie
This is a most unusual tale. It is the love story of a severely burned ex-porn star and a schizophrenic sculptor on it's surface. Which is interesting enough--both are lovably flawed fascinating characters in their on right. But soon the other stories, spanning centuries, begin. Each is a heartbreaking yet uplifting story of love. All are told in language I can only call magical--I found myself often stopping to re-read sections because I wanted to savor their beauty a bit longer. Reading this b...more
Lolly LKH
The Gargoyle moves you to want to be in love and to NEVER want to be in love. Love is suffering, love is bliss. Davidson has penned a beautiful book full of love, meaning, and intelligence. It's not often that a person can learn history,religion and culture in a book about love. Oh and he threw in burn procedures, yes BURN procedures in a book about love, somehow it seems fitting. Wait, I think I forgot to mention there are language translations too. I do realize a lot of people run from anythin...more
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
Oct 08, 2008 Shelby *wants some flying monkeys* rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Shelby *wants some flying monkeys* by: My bookclub
Shelves: read-2008, favorites
What a book! I thought okay so an odd storyline when I heard about it. But my book group was saying it was so good that I thought I would give it a try and I'm soooo glad that I did. This book makes you glad to be a reader. For me it brought stories and that love of a really really good book to life again. I am about halfway through it and I keep making me put it down because I dread it ending.
Andrew Davidson has written a gift for the reading world. His stories sweep you up and place you there...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Everyone told me I'd love this book, then they all told me I SHOULD love this book. I read all the blurbs about how wonderful, astounding, amazing, unbelievable it was.

You know, I actually wanted to like it. I was looking for a good book. I was hoping for an absorbing story that would draw me in, where I could sink into the story.

Alas, this wasn't it. I forged my way through a good part of the book, after all sometimes books start slowly and then "take off". This one didn't. I finally skimmed m...more
Buggy
Opening Line: "Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love."

I really liked this book and found myself absorbed in the world that Andrew Davidson has created. THE GARGOYLE is a multilayered tragedy within a love story and it will affect you on many different levels; horrific, sad and gruesome it is also complex, funny, thought provoking and redeeming. Unfortunately any summery you read won't really do it justice.

THE GARGOYLE has been written in a first person narrative and...more
Shovelmonkey1
Dec 04, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers through history and lovers of history
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: charity shop cheapness
Shelves: read-in-2011
I am on a book roll this week! No I do not mean that I am the filling in some sort of papery sandwich (although for the really enthusiastic book lover this may have some kind of kinky appeal, paper cuts not withstanding), I mean I have been selecting books from my shelf which I have been thrilled to read, engrossed and spell bound by and this does not always happen.

I am constantly on the search for reading matter... in Liverpool I am probably the book equivalent of an overly tall Jawa (know you...more
Colleen
This is not just a book, it's an adventure. You can tell that Davidson did not rush this book. The writing is detailed and vivid but not overdone. The characters jump off the page when you're reading this book, its like you're right there with them. It's amazing, it's a great read, it's an experience.

This book should not be underestimated, there are stories within stories and meanings within meanings and real depth. The writing is excellent. This book will move you emotionally and not always for...more
Michael
The unnamed narrator of Andrew Davidson's debut novel "The Gargoyle" may be beautiful to the world but internally, his life is a mess. Raised as an orphan by his two meth-addicted cousins and then in foster care, he's now a adult cinema star whose life is built upon looks and appearances rather than any real depth. He's addicted to drugs, drinks too much and all of this leads to him to a horrific car accident in which he is horribly burned over most of his body, even going so far as to burn and...more
Justin
Grabbed this book up from the library anxious to get on with what was apparently sold for over a million by the author. Shucks. The calculus must be (always has been?) about profit, not story. Is this too harsh? Read the book. ALL first person, which is sort of ok, except this author is in and outside his own story, at times tracking it from an objective viewpoint, and at other times overly-descriptive and precise about what-we-do-not-know. The book sort of clumsily cuts between vignettes of pre...more
Lauren
Sep 23, 2008 Lauren rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lauren by: BookWorld
Shelves: fiction
Over the period of one day, I was completely immersed in the story... so many stories within one! Starting with a real shock of a near-fatal auto accident, this book definitely starts off with a bang. The main character (who is never "named") is severely burnt, and spends months upon months in a hospital's burn unit. I really enjoyed seeing the transformation of the main character both physically, spiritually, and emotionally throughout the 400+ pages of the novel. With the care/love of an eccen...more
Diane
---Wow...just where do I start? Honestly, I was not sure whether I was going to read this book or not. I took the book home from the library 2 weeks ago, read a few gory pages and then stopped. I then read that this debut author, Andrew Davidson, was given a $2 million dollar advance on this book, and I had to read it to see what all the hype was about. I am so glad I did.

The Gargoyle, is a story about redemption.

This book is not for the faint of heart. The story begins with a horrible car accid...more
Tania
It's our scars that make us who we are.

3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this multi-faceted book. When last did you read a book that gave you information on such varied subjects as burns, Galileo, Dante's inferno, Heinrich Seuse, gargoyles vs grotesques, Mechthild von Magdeburg and morphine addiction? I loved the fairytales, and the side characters histories that was shared with us.

The two main characters are definitely three-dimensional, and probably not to everyone's taste. I loved the main characte...more
Bill
Oct 03, 2008 Bill rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys reading
Shelves: first-reads
It's hard to believe that this is a first novel, it is a very well accomplished book, I can see me becoming an Andrew Davidson fan over time.

What I loved most about the Gargoyle is that it is so hard to categorise. It is a love story, an adventure story, a supernatural thriller, a horror tale (perhaps?) and there are many heart wrenching and indeed comedic moments in the book.

The characters are all very well developed and the parallels and use of Dante's Inferno have kicked my curiosity into ove...more
Amanda
Nov 02, 2008 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who can appreciate the power of stories
Recommended to Amanda by: Mom
Shelves: kick-ass
I read this book a week ago and I've been mulling over exactly what I want to say about it, but I'm still not sure what that is. Simply put, I really loved the book. It was one of those wonderful books that sucked me in and I could not put it down until it was finished with me. Part of the reason I loved it was for the way there were stories within stories within stories, like some kind of literary Russian nested doll. Seeing how the stories connect together across time and cultures is a reminde...more
Leah
A beautiful book that came along at the perfect time in my life. Really resonated with me. Some tedious parts (most of the middle; the Inferno hallucination) prevent it from being a five-star read, and there's a sort of fucked-up final message, but still, this was lovely, refreshingly grotesque at times, and surprisingly heartfelt.
oliviasbooks
After reading 59 pages and waiting five months for summoning up enough motivation to go on reading (all my Goodreads friends seem to love the book with abandon - so what's wrong with me?), I have decided to finally put a lid on the case and throw the book out of its designated and by this time slightly dusty spot on my nightstand. I had this subconscious fear that maybe I have detoriated and am not able to concentrate on "real" grown-up books anymore. All I seem to enjoy these days are young adu...more
Rosalie
It took me about 2 1/2 months to get through this book. I am usually a quick reader, but this book challenged that and won. I finished it with no lingering feelings, but glad that I did finally finish.

The writing was great. I enjoyed the writer's ability to construct different worlds, but the main story was not something that held me. I think the reason for this is that I did not buy into the whole mysticism of the story. Maybe mysticism isn't the right choice of word, but the religious feel bur...more
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
I'm sure everyone has read at least one review of The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson by now, but I just finished it, so bear with me while I chime in with my opinion. Having just finished the book, I need to catch my breath and gather my thoughts, but I must say that I loved it. Thanks to Doubleday for providing me with a copy!

The narrator, whose name is never revealed, is a porn king who is badly burned in a car accident. The burns leave him grossly disfigured. He spends months in the hospital and...more
Audrey
Aug 16, 2008 Audrey rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Audrey by: I was lucky to win a copy.
‘Gargoyle’ by Andrew Davidson is like no other novel. It revolves around a beautiful but utterly corrupt, nameless, pornographer who is burnt beyond recognition. For him although he lives, he is already dead. Marianne Engel is the elusive, haunting and unstable sculptress of the stone Gargoyles; the title of the novel. Ultimately, she is his saviour in a way that he could never have understood previously. This novel reaches beyond the reader’s usual expectations. It is a story of great depth; an...more
El
It took me just a few days to read this, but already I've forgotten most of it. I decided not to review it last night when I finished it because I wanted to think on it and give it a fair shot, but now I feel like it's all just a fuzzy memory. Not a tell-tale sign of a new favorite of mine.

The premise certainly isn't original, though I'm not sure that particularly matters. The self-absorbed hotty narrator has spent the majority of his adult life drinking, drugging, and being a porn star, but ver...more
Dan Porter
Feb 04, 2010 Dan Porter rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robin (Bridge Four)
Meet the narrator of the story -

“I began my career as a porno actor specializing in heterosexual sex with multiple female partners in a short period of time, without ever losing my erection. But please don’t think of me as one dimensional.”

Once a beautiful looking man with an ugly soul he is forever changed after a car accident leaves him brutally scared. Now his crispy critters outsides match more closely the soul he carries within. At least what it looks like in this incarnation of him. He is...more
Margarida
Uau!... Nem sei por onde começar…
Este é um daqueles livros que me faz pensar: porque raio só posso dar 5*?

E agora? O que posso dizer de um livro que tanto “mexeu comigo” e com as minhas emoções? Talvez começar pelo início ou melhor pela minha relação inicial com este livro. Confesso que foi uma relação estranha de amor/ódio, atracção/repulsa! Nunca tinha ouvido falar dele nem do seu autor. Posteriormente fiz alguma pesquisa e soube que era o seu primeiro livro, que levou 7 anos a ser escrito e...more
Oana
Splendid masterful writing, but not much else. At least for me, one who was never too bound to this kind of supernatural gothic stuff. Especially when it never gets a real explanation or even a simple solution to the plot. Still, seeing the glowing reviews, I don't even dare to doubt that it's me, I'm not open enough to this genre yet. Wish I could write like that though. *sighs in awe*
Gavin
This is not the sort of book I usually read, but I was sucked in by the publishers claims that this was "An extraordinary debut novel of love that survives the fires of hell and transcends the boundaries of time". Lucky for me this mostly lived up to the hype.

This reads like the fictional autobiography of the main characters life. Our main character was a morally grey soul who suffered horrific burns in a car accident and found love and redemption in his life afterwards.

The book had a gripping...more
Wendy
This has got to be one of the best books I have ever read!
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149883
Hi, and thanks for coming to my profile on Goodreads.

On August 5th, 2008, my first novel - The Gargoyle - was published. This was, of course, tremendously exciting for me. In America, the publisher is Doubleday; in Canada, the publisher is Random House; in the UK, the publisher is Canongate; in Australia, the publisher is Text. As well, the book is translated into twenty-nine other languages.

I'm v...more
More about Andrew Davidson...
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“You are mine,I am yours; you may be sure of this. You've been locked inside my heart, the key has been thrown away; within it, you must always stay. ” 218 likes
“Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love.” 191 likes
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