Andrew Davidson’s debut is an accomplished, confident, self-depricating, chaotic beauty of a novel. At turns shocking, funny, real, fantastical, full of hatred and uncertainty, yet uplifting, The Gargoyle is ultimately a love story about a man whose life has forced him to become a monster inside, and it takes a horrific accident to bring the monster to the surface. Only then can it be tamed and overcome by the appearance of a mysterious woman who speaks of times long since passed, and a love long lost but never forgotten.
Davidson appears, like his nameless storyteller, to be a man who enjoys dipping his thought gland into the juices of every area of life and experience, and sucking what he can into his own fleshy being. Many parts of history are covered, many peoples and countries, science, religion, philosophy are each encountered and wrestled. Our hero starts out by re-telling his early life- hardship after hardship only served to build character- he loves to read and learn, although these hardships also pushed him into the porn industry and many vices and habits. Forced into hospital with near total body burns, he is faced with months of staring at a ceiling in agony and the thought that his life is well and truly over. He has no desire, like his fellow patients to ‘beat this’ and get better- He knows that he will forever be the freak that everyone will cross the road to avoid, and his only desire of getting better is so he has the strentgh to kill himself. Until she appears. Even with his experience of women, he is intrigued by her, and her apparent knowledge of parts of his life he believed to be totally secret.
Any more would be spoiling the story, but hopefully this has suckled your own thought gland. I must mention the book in its physical sense- one of the most gorgeous i have on my shelves, dark and enticing. It seems like one of those books which everyone would be drawn to lifting upon entering the room. You shouldn’t judge it by its cover- but if you are drawn in you will enjoy it for its merits.