The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
The novel The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, published in 2008, has a thought-provoking story and a piercing narrative.
The main character and narrator of the story is a drug addict and former pornographer, who suffered severe burns throughout his body in a car crash. Once handsome, the 35 year-old finds himself on the brink of death for several months, suffering from his injuries and the painful treatment used in his recovery. In his storytelling, he alternates events from his past and those of his present in the hospital, as a backstory for the encounter with Marianne Engel, who little by little wins his trust and gives him a new direction in life.
It seems like a fine lovestory, but it's nothing such. The narrator is totally revolted against his fate, often cynical, bitter, ironic and angry. The account is poignant and fierce, and also thick from the pain and misery in the health situation, which the writer details minutely.
As for his "savior" of sorts, Marianne, by the middle of the book, you're wondering along with the narrator, whether she's just eccentric or outright mad, as she claims to have known him 700 years before, when they were married, and she tells of several of her "spiritual friends" who have lived in different periods of time, in places like Italy, Iceland and Japan. Besides, she's a very talented sculptor, obsessed with making gargoyle statues.
All those elements are smartly woven into a complex tapestry of mysterious and eerie patterns. It poses interesting questions about life and death, love, sanity, reincarnation, God, destiny, etc.
As for the writer, Andrew Davidson, the guy is undoubtedly very talented. Even though the book has the epitome of the anti-hero for narrator, which sometimes made me feel a bit frustrated and uptight, the author has put a lot of work on it (7 years of research, no less) and it shows.
The author talks about the book: