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Archive 08-19 GR Discussions > The Gargoyle ((spoilers likely))******

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message 1: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Like Tera stated in the discussion for The Heretic's daughter it would be nice not to jump right to the end of the book but go through at a slower pace for those reading yet. There are lots of topics in this story so I hope we can go from there and play it by ear. I am going to post a few questions from guides or ideas and please feel free to post your own questions if you want to.

No matter where you are in the book the story of Dante's Inferno is talked about or read.
*** 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 circles that represent varying degrees of condemnation, from the unbaptized in Limbo to traitorous Satan at the center.

Dante begins his tour of hell on Good Friday, 1300, the suggested day and year of Marianne's birth. The day of Christ's crucifixion, Good Friday makes additional appearances in The Gargoyle: It is Sister Christina's birthday and the day of the narrator's car accident.

Like Dante, The Gargoyle's narrator begins his journey in the woods, at the age of thirty-five. Contemplation of suicide occurs in early passages of The Inferno as well as The Gargoyle.

For Discussion: In The Inferno, condemned souls receive punishments that correspond to their sins. The Gargoyle's narrator loses his ability to consummate sex, but he retains his ability to feel intense desire. 1.What other forms of hell does he suffer?
2.What sort of tailor-made suffering might Dante have invented for you?
3.What do a society's beliefs regarding the afterlife say about that society's values in general?
4.Why do you think the narrator is never given a name?
5.What did you think of the authors writing style? easy, difficult, pull you in, put you off etc...

For Discussion:
Two acrostics are formed across the novel's thirty-three chapters. When read in order, the first letter of every chapter spells out ALL THINGS IN A SINGLE BOOK BOUND BY LOVE, derived from Dante's Paradiso, Canto XXXIII: "I saw within Its depths how It conceives / all things in a single volume bound by Love / of which the universe is the scattered leaves." The last letter of every chapter spells out DIE LIEBE IST STARK WIE DER TOD, MARIANNE, meaning "Love is as strong as death, Marianne," from the sermon by Meister Eckhart quoted in the epigraph.

6.What do you make of these acrostics? Why do you think the author included these? Did you even notice them when you were reading?

message 2: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Don't let these questions scare you just say what you thought of the author? the writing? the references? your feelings? :)

message 3: by Vicki (new)

Vicki I finished the book a while back. I expected to wait from my library and it came in quickly. I really enjoyed the book, but don't want to say too much since I know that people are just starting. I did have a question to throw out about the beginning. Some people seem to think he was over the top, with description and how much has gone wrong in the narrator's life. I kind of agree that there was a lot of tragedy, but still I didn't really feel for him. Despite that I still enjoyed the book, but it was more because of Marianne's stories and role. Did anyone else feel it was too much, or lack feeling towards the narrator?

message 4: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) I finished this book last month and it's still with me. I loved this book and recommend it to anyone who will listen.

The author's description of what it feels like to be burned over 90% of your body was so detailed that I actually felt like I was in that car accident with the narrator. It went on for several pages, but I felt it was needed to let us know what's in store for the narrator and just what a miracle it would be for Marianne to pull him out of his funk and make him love and live again.

Vicki, I did feel for the narrator--feeling pity for his awful childhood; sadness about how he turned towards drugs and porn as a yound man; and horror at the way he had to find the true love of his life...again. That's if you believe Marianne's story.

Does anyone have some insight on the arrows that caused his car accident? Was that Marianne causing the wreck? This part is puzzling to me.

I'm looking forward to this author's next book. I think The Gargoyle is a very poetic book; some of the passages are truly beautiful and I found myself reading them several times.

message 5: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Vicki, I did feel for the narrator in a way not really of pity but with great interest and caring. I wanted to know what brought this character to this point, and I was so interested in his burned description. I really felt the author had some insight into the burned skin since I used to work in a rehab hospital, I felt he was very accurate. Actually, while I liked Marianne's stories and the idea of her character,I didn't care for her as much as I cared about the narrator.

Brenda, I love books that make me want to read another. Like Heretic's daughter makes me want to read The Crucible so does this book make we want to read The Inferno. Wonderful idea!
I don't really believe that the modern day relationship between Marianne Engel and the narrator was the kind of love story the others in the book were. I have some ideas but going to wait to see more discussion.

Tressa, there is the whole theme throughout the book connected to arrows. I tried to mark several but I think there were too many after a while. Funny how the first time I read the book I missed the very first mention before he crashed his car. ha
I had a thought that it could have been a drug related hallucination maybe the idea that he was on a road headed for destruction and then his mind played a trick on him somehow...not sure. I am still open to other ideas on this as well as many others.

message 6: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments 5.What did you think of the authors writing style? easy, difficult, pull you in, put you off etc...

I was pulled immediately into the story. I felt that even when the narrator was talking to me (the reader) that he had a purpose and I wanted to hear what he had to say. I did also like his touches of humor mixed into the serious story lines. The great descriptions of the food Marianne brought him in the hospital were really good and I wonder where the author picked up the culinary lingo and there was a few bits of humor in that as well. I would read more by this author but it will be a while since it took him about 9 years to write this one. :)

message 7: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments I read this book a little over a month ago, listed it as a favorite, and already want to read it again!

I had no idea that the author used acrostics in this book and find the idea makes it even more interesting!

I have always felt that the 'Divine Comedy' would be over my head to decipher, but after reading this book it would be interesting to compare the connections and parallels. I also love to read a book that makes me want to read another.

The most apparent form of hell is the excruciating pain he is suffering, which I believe made all others dim in comparison. I was very interested in learning about burn victims and their treatment. Another form of hell he endures is because of his childhood which I think explained the choices he made in life. Although his chosen profession was in no way honorable, he was very succesful which I thought was remarkable after all he had been through.

I was immediately pulled into the book with the descriptiveness of the accident and then the pain and suffering of the narrator. I'm sure others found this to be daunting, but I thought it was imperative in order to draw the reader in.

I agree with Tressa, Marianne was able to make the narrator want to live again. He became a better person because of love; what a great message!

I felt more connected to the narrator and I think one reason is because I never quite figured Marianne out. Was she truly insane or were her stories true?

I am anxious to read what others have to say about this book!

message 8: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Cindy, I was agreeing with you on the most apparent form of hell - pain. But then, with pain you feel and I think or am wondering if, though not as apparent, his main form of hell was not feeling before. He performed, he went through the motions but he was so isolated with that horrible childhood. That did not allow any form of attachments for long and so I am thinking his non-feeling years were a hell. Marianne helped to break down that form of hell and made him reach out.
The pain at times was a comfort.??? not sure just thinking out loud.

Marianne insane or not? Well she was under Dr's care several times, lived in a asylum, didn't function on her own much and collapsed often. I would say if.. IF she was real that she was schizophrenic. My question is Was she real? :)

message 9: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Interesting observation KrisT. I agree with you that he had attachment/feeling issues and yes that was probably a form of hell in and of itself. So the pain sort of become his freedom to feel. Not sure that I'm making much sense! :)

Was Marianne real? Not sure what you mean by that.

message 10: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) KrisT, even though I noticed that the arrows caused the narrator's accident, it didn't hit me until later when I started realizing how important arrows were to the story that I started wondering about THOSE arrows. Who shot them? Marianne? Fate? I have no idea but would also love some insight from you ladies if you have any good ideas. It's never mentioned who shot those arrows from the woods that caused the accident.

I think the writer wants you to believe Marianne's story. He vacillates in the book, but at the end he focuses on the Dante books and the carbon dating of them (I think that's how they decided the age of them).

And wasn't Marianne in the hospital only so that she could work her way into the narrator's burn ward and life? I thought that was just a ruse of hers, although she does have some oddities, that's for sure.

Did anyone like Marianne's butch agent? I hated her at first, but felt that her brusqueness aided the narrator's healing, too. He didn't need sympathy all the time, and didn't want to be patronized, so she told it like is and I think he appreciated it in a big way.

I think another book could be written to tell about the thousand hearts Marianne had to give away in the 700 years she was alive.

message 11: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Tressa, you made me think on this. I am wondering if the question about what sort of tailor-made suffering Dante would make for us? and your question about what were the arrows before his accident. So.....I was reading a little bit about Dante's 7th circle relating to someone who is on a collision course of self-destruction.

Virgil tells Dante that sins of violence takes on three forms according to the victim:against other people (like a neighbor), oneself, or God. Those who do violence against themselves or their own property - suicides or squanderers inhabit the second ring - the horrid forest in circle 7. A path down to the 3 rings is a slope of boulders where a Minotaur is the symbol of the circle of violence. Centaurs guard the 1st ring of circle 7 a river of blood. Armed with bows and arrows they patrol the river keeping the souls at their allotted depths. And there are Harpies perched in the suicide trees, whose leaves they tear and eat, thus producing both pain and an outlet for the accompanying lament of the souls.

If what started the narrators hell was his self-destruction (booze and lifestyle) then maybe this was his hallucination or his actual trip to the circles of hell. In that case he set the arrows off by his behavior which is what we all do supposedly. Right?? what do you think?

message 12: by KrisT (last edited Feb 02, 2009 03:40PM) (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Cindy, the idea of Marianne not being real to me is that in the Inferno Dante is led through the circles of hell by the ghost of Virgil. Of course this could mean that the narrator himself is actually dead. Dude!! I am just not sure what I think on that one. I hope no one minds me thinking out loud here.
There are many times when I feel Marianne just doesn't seem real. Before the narrator even meets her he dreams of Enganthal and that is one thing that got me thinking down that path. His drugs and hallucinations also. What do you think?

Yes I loved Jack but she had to grow on me.

message 13: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments I loved the acrostics, I will be really interested to hear what people think about it.

I loved this book. It is not a typical love story but that is what I loved about it. I am not all that familiar with Dante so the connections will be very difficult for me, but I am willing to learn.

The question of whether or not Marianne was real is intriguing. I think parts of her were real and it is up to the reader as to how much of her is reality. Is she insane when she goes back in time and her memories? Only the reader can decide. Are the connections real, the author gives you good reason to believe that they are. Another question to pose could be is he real? Did he tinker on death and the whole thing is a dream sequence? Or do we take the story as it is presented? There are many good arguments that could be taken on both sides. I think that is what makes the book so powerful.

message 14: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Thanks Brenda for the link!

message 15: by Andrew (last edited Feb 03, 2009 04:21AM) (new)

Andrew (andrewdavidson) Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to drop in and say hello, and also: "Wow!"

By wow!, I mean, what an incredible discussion you already have going and, as the writer, wow! what a gratifying feeling it is. Seriously, you cannot imagine how nice it is to imagine the readers who are thinking so deeply on the story. For this, I thank you sincerely.

While I will drop by with the occasional comment, I will indicate up front that I won't be "explaining" anything that I meant in the book. The reason for this is simply that I don't believe writers should. The work either stands on its own, or it doesn't. A writer's explanations of "what s/he meant" don't really matter. The book doesn't come with footnotes, after all.

Furthermore... it doesn't even matter what the book means to me, because the relationship between reader and book is always personal. What The Gargoyle "means" to me is not what it "means" to anyone else - nor should it. And while I love discussing books, as the writer of this one if I say that I think an occurrence means something in particular or should be read a specific way, I'm not really adding to the conversation. All I'm doing is giving the reader some extra baggage to carry into the story: "Well, the author thinks this...."

However, that doesn't mean I won't be making any comments that might be of interest. For example, Tressa earlier mentions that the narrator is burned over 90% of his body. This is not true, but I know exactly where she got that - some promotional materials were written (by someone other than me) that made this percentage claim. Nowhere in the book is a percentage of his burns mentioned, but I can tell you definitively that the narrator has a combination of burns (varying degrees) that cover a total of 72% of his body. I know this because I made a burn chart for him in my research. Burns over 90% of one's body would result in death. Burns over 72% bring a person pretty much right to the outer limit at which living is still possible.

So... onward into the discussion. Again, I thank you for the comments that you have already made, and I thank you for the comments yet to come.

All the best,

message 16: by KrisT (last edited Feb 03, 2009 06:44AM) (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Andrew thanks for stopping by the group. This is my second time reading your book and the first time I am really getting into a discussion on it that even comes close to the depths I felt when reading it the second time. I was a bit disappointed with the discussion over on shelfari but like you said it is a personal relationship with the reader and the book as well as to how much you want to delve into discussing also.

Thanks again for stopping by. Oh and I do want to know something - your relationship to the food in this book? Is this personal experience with all the food mentioned in the book because it is just overwhelming but sounds wonderful.

message 17: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Brenda says

This is one question I posed the narrator living? is this his trip into hell and he only makes it to paradise by giving love? Was Marianne real or a ghost, or a hallucination or real?

message 18: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Meg said

This is another possibility that the narrator is alive but this whole thing his dreams. Did anyone else catch that he dreamed of Engenthal before he ever met Marianne or do I have that wrong?

And if we take the story as presented then what about the arrows from the forest on the first page??

message 19: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Brenda I am trying to work my way through Paradiso Canto XXXIII but it is not my strong suit. Any ideas? I am going to go work out and I will be back to ponder.

here is just a little bit for others to look over:

O grace abundant, by which I presumed
To fix my sight upon the Light Eternal,
So that the seeing I consumed therein!
I saw that in its depth far down is lying
Bound up with love together in one volume,
What through the universe in leaves is scattered;
Substance, and accident, and their operations,
All interfused together in such wise
That what I speak of is one simple light.
The universal fashion of this knot
Methinks I saw, since more abundantly
In saying this I feel that I rejoice.

message 20: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Andrew, I am so honored and excited that you stopped by our discussion, as I'm sure everyone else is! I will also say, WOW!

As for the question about Marianne or even the narrator being 'real', I never thought of the characters as not being real but intriguing thought.

I didn't feel that Marianne's belief in the past lives led to her 'insanity' question, I thought it was all the other things she did like chisel on the stones naked and work herself to almost the point of death that were just plum crazy actions!

The longer the story progressed, the more convinced I became that the past lives were real and when learning about the carbon dating on the book, I was like whoo, eerie; this must be true. I had to step back and remind myself that this was just a work of fiction! I love it when a book does that!

message 21: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Cindy, I have to say that was soooo true for me too. The carbon dating and a little bit also the times that the narrator referred to the book we are reading as his book. But you could hallucinate the whole thing as being real too. I have never been in a coma so I don't know what all could go on. Wonder if anyone has thoughts on that?

message 22: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (andrewdavidson) Hi KrisT,

The food - well, there is a personal relationship in that I've eaten a lot of what I described. The Japanese meal in particular... as I was living in Japan while writing the book, pretty much all of that went into my mouth at one time or another.

But, really, I was just trying to describe what Marianne Engel would be putting on the table. Definitely it was more her relationship to the food than mine....


message 23: by Meg (last edited Feb 03, 2009 01:32PM) (new)

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments My question to Andrew would be:

1. Is this book at all autobiographical? And, are any of the characters people that you know (of course with poetic license).

2. How influential is your having lived in Japan in your writing?

message 24: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments Interesting that you feel that he was in Purgatory. What about Marianne? Was she also in Purgatory? It seemed she had a lot to resolve as well. Was her mental illness her Purgatory? Hell? I think the two were highly connected, more so than in a romance. Before getting very deep into it, not wanting to give too much away.

message 25: by Andrew (last edited Feb 03, 2009 08:25PM) (new)

Andrew (andrewdavidson) Hi Meg,

Regarding your questions:

1) No, the book isn't autobiographical, at all. At least, I hope I'm not much like the narrator. I can say definitively that I am not a drug-addicted pornographer. And I didn't base the characters on real people I know, although I did sneak names or nicknames of friends into the text (but never their full, actual names) just as a shout-out to them. Anyone I did this with, however, I let know before the book went to press - just in case they didn't want to be included....

2) The thing about Japan is that it's a culture that incorporates everything. In Tokyo, you see centuries-old temples next to Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets. And the art mixes in western influences in the most interesting ways. So I suppose one thing I took from the culture was a lack of fear as far as throwing things together. I mean, what genre is The Gargoyle anyway? Historical romance, love story, fairy tale, morality tale, science fiction, medical drama, melodrama.... All of the above?


message 26: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments I like the idea that the beginning of the book is Purgatory (after the accident). Brenda, when do you see the shift to Hell? when Marianne Engel shows up to be his guide?? that sort of makes sense to me. I think that sort of fits what Meg is asking too.

I think if that is true then Marianne does have lots to resolve but that is her hell. She is burdened with all those hearts to let go of and she is trapped. Is she trapped because she is saving the last heart for the that why it takes 700 years for her to be in Hell???
I don't think that ME's mental illness was her purgatory but I am not sure what her original sin is??? What do you think? Does it have to do with her being so good at the scriptorium? her sense of the other nuns faults?? I am going to think on this tonight.

One of the guides questions I listed above is what do you think Dante's tailor made suffering for you would be? This is a tough tough question. Not sure even where to think to start on this...the 7 deadly sins? I suppose I have my share of sloth and gluttony as the next guy..ha! I am going to keep thinking tonight. Please keep thinking of what kind of suffering you might have in store. See ya on the flip side.

message 27: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments I had to go look up more Dante and came up with this on Virgil's hell:
this Hell is not solely the realm of sinners; the virtuous pagans that inhabit Limbo, across the Acheron from the vestibule, must also be dealt with in some way. Dante's guide Virgil is one of these; describing the pagans he says that "they have committed no sin, and if they have merits, / That is not enough, because they are not baptised" -- for without having been baptised, one cannot enter into heaven as a Christian (IV, 34-5).

Through no fault of their own, by dint only of having been born before Christianity, these souls are confined to Limbo "to live [...:] without hope, but with desire" (IV, 42). This, too, is a difficult fate, to be sure -- but it is still a fair one, as the pagans are not being punished for their lack of belief in Christ.

What do you think? could come up with no real sin for Marianne to be suffering so. I would like to hear what everyone thinks?

message 28: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Andrew I would also like to know what sort of background you have with regards to all the research areas you had to get into in order to do this book? Do you favor one area over another?
I am guessing you studied Dante's writing; mythology; history; burn victims; food I already asked you about; religion etc...
There is just so much involved in this book, I don't know how you studied it all.

message 29: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Also good question Andrew...just what genre is it? I like your answer! a historical romantic fairy morality love story? sounds good to me. :)

message 30: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (andrewdavidson) Hi KrisT,

Ah, I'm not "qualified" as an expert on anything, and I tend to study what I need to study either (a) because a story requires it, or (b) it's just interesting, and I can't stop myself. You can pretty much assume that anything in the text is something that I wanted to know more about and then forced myself to learn about...

How did I study it all? Two words: seven years.


P.S. Man, I've got to stop posting my answers before proof-reading them. Every time I come, the first thing I do is is edit my previous response.

message 31: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Mcdonald | 20 comments Readers, I am still digesting the book. I have no mental references to Dante or the Catholic symbols and history. But, the blinding arrows are not unlike the blindness that overcame Saul in Acts 9 of NT. It seems to me that the BIG question is "does suffering redeem us from anything?" I'm still mulling. Sherry McD. Oklahoma

message 32: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Sherry said<
"does suffering redeem us from anything?" >

I am not sure, maybe when I take off my hair shirt I will be able to think more clearly! :) just messing with ya.

Really, I am not sure. I think it goes to what you believe doesn't it? your faith, your beliefs are unique to you so I could not say for anyone else. When you talk of suffering who are you referring to in the book? Also the book said "burning arrows swarming out of the woods" not sure if that makes a difference but I will have to see Acts 9. Can't wait to hear more of your thoughts.

message 33: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Andrew, don't worry about your posts. I can say for myself, when I am wrapped up in a book or books I am lucky I can make a coherent comment...these girls are very forgiving here! :)

message 34: by Tressa (last edited Feb 04, 2009 10:56AM) (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) However, that doesn't mean I won't be making any comments that might be of interest. For example, Tressa earlier mentions that the narrator is burned over 90% of his body. This is not true, but I know exactly where she got that - some promotional materials were written (by someone other than me) that made this percentage claim. Nowhere in the book is a percentage of his burns mentioned, but I can tell you definitively that the narrator has a combination of burns (varying degrees) that cover a total of 72% of his body. I know this because I made a burn chart for him in my research. Burns over 90% of one's body would result in death. Burns over 72% bring a person pretty much right to the outer limit at which living is still possible.

Hi, Andrew. Thanks for talking with us, and thanks for clearing this up. Maybe I just thought about the narrator's injury and made that figure up. Or maybe when I was reading reviews I picked up on it.
I just want you to know that I read a lot of books every year that are good, but only a few a year that blow me away. And your book takes that honor this year.

ETA: I agree with not explaining the meaning of The Gargoyle. I like to draw my own conclusions from anything I read.

Although a lot of us are curious about the arrows that cause the accident.

message 35: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (andrewdavidson) >Although a lot of us are curious about the arrows that cause the accident.

That's a good sign.


message 36: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 2175 comments This is some amazing conversation flowing here, I love it. Along the lines of the question about writing style, (it definitely pulled me in) most of the times when I read a story that has parallel stories, I'm very attached to one or the other, but this time I was engrossed in both the present day and the past.
I did not notice the acrostics at all, very cool.
Marianne: Is she real? Is she insane? I'm a fairly literal reader (especially the first time around), so I have to believe she's real. Insanity is a whole other ballgame though. Many people believe God talks to (or works through, etc) people, many more have a close personal relationship with God, that doesn't necesarily make you schizophrenic. What moreso convinces me of it is the voices of the gargoyles, and that they are screaming to be let out. However, even still, just because gargoyles are screaming at her, she can still be a normal functioning person, it's when she stops taking care of herself that it becomes problematic. I guess I wasn't really concerned with her illness because even if she was a schizophrenic, she was very high functioning (ie: the screaming/ranting type that sleep on park benches could not have pulled off a holiday banquet for a whole hospital). What I am curious about is the truth to the other stories she told (Japan, Iceland, etc), and was she saying she was in each of those stories,too? Are they a part of her 700 hearts? If so, who was she in each?
The arrows that cause the car crash in the beginning... It's been a while since I read the book, but if I remember correctly, there were a lot of arrows, like an enemy volley. Does that happen anywhere else in the book? I don't remember a volley of arrows flying at any other point, but I could be mistaken.

message 37: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) If I remember correctly Marianne shot the narrator through the heart because he was about to be tortured and killed by some in the mercenary group he used to belong to.

What is it with me and numbers? First I thought the narrator was burned over 90% of his body and that Marianne had 1,000 hearts to give away in 700 years.

My theory about the arrows: Marianne did it as a way of re-connecting with her love for the final meeting. He suffered because of the accident but she saw suffering as a means of purifying one's self.

Was Marianne kept from drowning and given the task of giving the hearts away as penance for shooting the narrator through the heart? I'd love to hear about Marianne's adventures during the 700 years. This could become a long-lasting series like Orson Scott Card's Ender series. ;)

message 38: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (andrewdavidson) HI Tessa,

While I suppose that this could become a series, I guarantee that it won't.

There will be no prequels or sequels.


message 39: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments Well, I think that you have to look at Marianne as how society would look at her. If you met her, and she believed all those things, she would be considered mentally ill, don't you think? Makes you wonder if some mentally ill people are really just on a journey as well.

Maybe, the wings on Marianne's back is a dichotomy. One school of thought being that she sinned because she took his life; the other being that she was an "angel" because she saved him the agonies of all the torture that he was growing through.

Damn, I love this book!

message 40: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cyndil62) | 1774 comments Jennifer wrote: "I did not notice the acrostics at all, very cool."

I'm with you on that, isn't that just so cool!

Oohh Brenda, interesting point, an angel gone awry! Any other thoughts on the significance of the wings on her back?

I didn't believe she was mentally ill until it came to carving the gargoyles when she put herself physically at risk. I mean, why was she in such a hurry to get the gargoyles out? She had found him, why didn't she want to prolong the time?

Do you think that Marianne lived physically in the same form for the entire 700 years?? If I remember correctly, the book didn't give away much about her more recent past lives. I kind of felt like she was just waiting for the narrator in a sort of limbo; was never sure about that. Also it didn't give any clues, I can remember, that in the other stories she was aware of her journey or any other lives.

Perhaps that is what the arrows signified? Her hearts being given away or as Tressa said "reconnecting with her love".

Just musing here this morning! :)

And Andrew, I AM anxiously awaiting another book by you no matter what the subject!

message 41: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) Cindy, I like to ponder Marianne's life during those 700 long years. The people she met; the historical things she was witness to. Andrew, I was just kidding about a book being written about those adventures. I can use my imagination and wonder about her adventures. But maybe adventures is the wrong word; she didn't seem enthused about that time period and sort of waved it away like it wasn't as important as the here and now with the narrator. I guess she was biding time and fulfilling her quest but that was not what was important to her.

When Marianne started not eating or sleeping and was manic in her carving, I started to become an outsider to the story and started looking at her with the same eyes as others in her life who assumed she was mentally ill. She really gave me pause for a minute or two. It's funny how we so badly want to believe the magic.

She seemed so relieved to be finally released from the world. I was sad for the narrator when he watched her disappear into the ocean.

I'm also looking forward to Andrew's next book.

message 42: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (andrewdavidson) Actually, Tressa, you changed my mind...

Next book will be:

Gargoyle II: This Time It's Personal

Gargoyle II: The Quickening

Gargoyle II: Die Harder

Oh, man! The ideas are sparking in my head!


message 43: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 3069 comments Andrew, you are funny! How about The Gargoyle's Point of View?

message 44: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2560 comments Mod
WHEW! It's a good thing I check out the guys who join our group before I delete them. I almost booted out one of our favorite book's author! Welcome Mr. Davidson you are now an honorary CHICK!

message 45: by KrisT (last edited Feb 05, 2009 12:30PM) (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Tressa said

Nicely said! I think we all knew something was not in balance when Marianne went into these manic moments. I do think it could be contributed to these years of living in LIMBO (another name for Purgatory)and what she must have been going through but at this point it did require medications - thus pretty sure she had a mental problem.
I love where you said we so badly wanted to believe the magic! That is how I felt about the whole book really and I didn't want to be too specific in pointing at details that might prove or disprove that magic. In doing this discussion however, even looking deep into some find details I am finding that it doesn't take away the magic feel it enhances it. :) Yeah Andrew!

Andrew, I don't know about the next book but I bet for real your 3 favorite hobbies are: libraries, narcotics and sex but you are just too shy to say that here amongst us Chicks. So do tell about what you said in the first chapter:
"While it is true that outside the library I have lived a life of wickedness, inside it I've always been devoted to knowledge as a saint to his Bible."
Wickedness? curious minds ya know
And you said this was not autobiographical! ;P

message 46: by KrisT (last edited Feb 05, 2009 12:42PM) (new)

KrisT | 553 comments More questions:
7. In the first chapter we get the first glimpse of the 'snake' later to be known or acknowledged as the 'spine snake'. Was this part of the narrators hell or what are your thoughts on its coming and going and its final departure?

I looked back through the first chapter and confirmed I believe, that the narrator did indeed know about Engelthal before he met Marianne. He also dreamed of Gargoyles before he met her. That brings me back to the Asian lady at the air show that who gave him a note, it said: "Haven't you ever wondered where your scar really came from?"
8. What do you make of these occurrences that took place during his coma?

message 47: by KrisT (new)

KrisT | 553 comments Meg said
I like that idea but I wonder why she would have the tatoo put on herself unless she thought herself as paying for her sin by outwardly showing her burden. I did get the impression that the wings were beautiful so not sure if that fits unless it was just a reminder for herself. (don't think she is likely to forget this though)

message 48: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 2175 comments Quick thought before I go home for the night... Not all angels are the shiny white playing harps with halos type, there are many a fallen angel, too.

message 49: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (andrewdavidson)
Hi Jennifer...

Good point on the fallen angels - you need look no further than Lucifer for the best example, according to many belief systems....

It is interesting to note that the etymology of the name is actually "bringer of light."


P.S. I'm not pushing for towards any interpretation of anything, here; I've always just been fascinated with this idea....

message 50: by Andrew (last edited Feb 06, 2009 04:11AM) (new)

Andrew (andrewdavidson) Hi Brenda

> Andrew,
> Isn't this "idea" as you call it, one of the basic foundation of the judeo-christian religion?

Yes, of course it is, and please forgive me if I wrote my previous response in a way that would suggest otherwise. Specifically what I meant is simply the "idea" that Satan (The Lord of Darkness, King of the Netherworld, Devil, whatever you want to call him) was in fact once one of the highest created beings in the universe, and is even named in regards to light rather than darkness. From a dramatic standpoint, it is so much more satisfying than a beast simply born from darkness.

And I know that I'm not breaking any new ground with my comment; it really is just something that has always interested me.

>My question for much of this is written in the context of Catholicism?
> Are you a Catholic? or is much of what you learned through Dante?
> Which in my experience as a very lapsed Catholic, a lot of it is based on Dante.

I never discuss my religion, or lack of it, because it doesn't really matter if I am Catholic, atheist, Muslim or Hindu. What matters is that I serve the beliefs of my characters: Marianne Engel obviously comes from (or believes she comes from) medieval Catholicism. The narrator insists he is an atheist.

Not discussing my religion relates back to my earlier point that I don't want to give the reader a framework through which s/he might think s/he needs to interpret the work. An example of this is C.S. Lewis, I think. When I was a child I loved the Naria books, and thought they were just ripping adventure stories. Later, of course, I learned about the religious views of Lewis. And now, for me, it is impossible to think of Naria as anything other than Christian allegory - even if Lewis didn't mean this, or even if he didn't mean *only* this.


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