Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gargoyle

One Christmas, back in my late teens, I received a gargoyle for Christmas. Technically it is a grotesque, as a gargoyle has a built-in spout to redirect water away from the side of a building, but at the time, I did not know the difference. Anyhow, it was winged dog, about a foot tall, and I thought it was pretty cool.

The next Christmas, I received a four inch tall grotesque on a little pedestal and a gargoyle calendar. The next year came the black-sand pewter hourglass framed by six grotesques, and a garden grotesque tic-tac-toe game. People had started to assume I was the gargoyle type.

As a side note, as a birthday gift just after that last Christmas, my sister bought me a wooden skull, with wings made of bones expanding in a two and a half foot wingspan. The salesgirl at the store she bought it at gave her a look that asked "Really?" and my sister said "It's his type of thing." Because, you know, skulls uh... and gargoyles and... yeah, I don't even know.

The salesgirl gave her a pitying look and sold it to her at half price.

When my wife came back from BFF (and brought with her tons of story) she said she brought me a gift and hefting over a box with a smirk on her face. Opening it up, I saw a lot of packing paper, and a book on top: Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Apparently Random House provided the attendants of this bloggerfest free copies of the book, and had also held a draw for a prize - which Lara had won...

Gargoyle Bookends. "Cuz it's your thing!" she could barely withhold her chortling.

Anyhoo. The book's pretty good! It's about a hedonistic sort of fellow who has never loved anyone. He gets in a car accident and gets severe burns all over his body. As he recovers in the burn ward he is approached by a patient from the psychiatric ward who tells him she was born in the 14th century and that they were married. She tells him stories of love from different ages, including their supposed shared past, and slowly he begins to fall for her. She's a sculptor who creates gargoyles and grotesques - the strange forms call to her from within the stone and she brings them forth in days-long sessions, giving them a "heart" when they are complete. Then she informs the burned narrator that she has only 27 "hearts" left to give before her time on earth is done.

I saw a review in some magazine describing Gargoyle as "The Time Traveller's Wife meets the English Patient", which is a pretty lame review, because all three are on completely different levels. Gargoyle is quite well written, has a cynical tone which made me laugh - loved the part where he goes on for a page listing off the food at the Christmas dinner, inserting random things within to make sure you're actually reading; my wife is a chronic word/sentence/tract skipper so it made me think of her - and definitely my type of thing.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

I totally paid full price for that hideous thing. And I wouldn't say "pitying", more like "smirking".