After the slight disappointment earlier this year from Nick Harkaway's debut novel The Gone-Away World, I was a little skeptical about reading another new writer because I often find too many flaws ridden throughout the pages. However, The Gargoyle is another case entirely. In fact, the book is so well told that I just can't find a single fault. It really is quite possibly the most "perfect" of books I've ever read - and I'm not one to lavish praise on just anything. It's so rare that I will read and not try to change sections for my own personal endeavor, but reading The Gargoyle was refreshing - a strange word to use perhaps considering Davidson's knack for graphic description, particularly on his delineation of how the human body burns. It was refreshing because it was original, and even now a week after reading I am finding it hard to start another book because I am still emotionally involved with The Gargoyle. Our nameless narrator happens upon a vision while being high on drugs and booze where a swarm of burning arrows are heading towards his car as he drives along the cliff edge. He crashes down the gauge and eventually catches fire, leaving him a monster but alive albeit in the care of the burn ward at the hospital.
The story entails the once beautiful man during his hospital rehabilitation after the incredible survival of the burning wreck. Along the way he meets Marianne Engel - a woman who he initially believes to have come from the psychiatric ward. She is a carver of Gargoyles, tattooed, eccentric and scraggy and she comes to visit regularly telling him stories of long ago, from ancient Japan to medieval Germany, Italy and the vikings of Iceland. She also claims that the two of them were lovers in the 1300s - her being a nun at Engalthal Monastery and him a warrior wounded from battle (no wonder he thought she was crazy). As our narrator is brought back to life by his newly found friends at the hospital he is also brought to love and so his story goes much deeper than the tales he "believes" to have been weaved.
I've tried not to give too much away, so that you can read it for yourself because you really must. A truly remarkable piece of work; ambitious and taunting, yet so beautifully told. If you don't believe in love now you will after this, and you might even get the urge to buy a gargoyle... though I doubt it. A modern masterpiece.