I finished Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle last night and I was planning on writing this right after, but I said, I’m just going to rest my head for ten minutes and well you can guess what happened. It really does seem like fall around here and the cooler weather has been so good for my sleep. I’ve been just giving in and sleeping like a rock. Anyway, I really loved The Gargoyle. It’s definitely one of my favorites for this summer and maybe even the year. I have to look back on my list.
I just read the two New York Times reviews of this book and sometimes I wonder if you have to be a complete snob to write for them. I know that’s not true, but it seems like they both tried pretty hard to put this book down and I’m being defensive, because I happened to like it. I’d also be pretty happy if it were my first novel. Maybe they just don’t like books that sell. Sophie Gee’s review was particularly snarky and I felt like I was being put down as a reader. Janet Maslin’s review was more positive. I happen to love the “wearyingly popular literary story-within-a-story format” that she finds a weakness. I wonder why no one complains that linear plot-lines are “wearyingly popular.”
Should I say something here about why I liked the book? Oh, I think I will. Davidson pairs his main characters well – the cynic and the true believer. I was skeptical about the narrator at first, because I wasn’t sure I would be able to like him. I didn’t like who he was (cocaine addict, porn star), but there was something about him as a narrator that was persuasive. Marianne Engel on the other hand takes over the book whenever she enters the room. She’s such an intriguing character and I love her tales, tall or not, you’re never quite sure. I was afraid the book would get too sentimental, but I don’t think it ever did. Personally, I love a story that takes lots of detours especially when things start getting tied up near the end. Davidson is also great with details and he picked some interesting areas to go into depth describing. I can’t say too much with out giving things away. The Gargoyle is a unique book. I’m guessing it won’t be the last one from Mr. Davidson.