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tagesmann

The Gargoyle - General Discussion - not 'spoilered'

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I can see why some readers would think Marianne's tales were romanticized, I just read each of them as if it was a fairy/folk tale, something to be told orally and passed down. I would have loved to have been their and heard them 'told'.
Me too - I'd like to be me, as a child, sitting crossed legged listening to Marianne tell each story.

 

If you'll be my best friend Katrina, I'll let you sit next to me :P

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Just finished and overall I'd say it was an enjoyable read. It was, however, clearly a debut novel because there were elements that I think a more experienced writer would have handled more successfully but since one of the aspects I felt to be strongest was the imaginative creation the quibbles don't weigh as heavily as they might. I was taken on board for the ride and find that much is living on with me, so that's a success.

 

The incredibly detailed portrayal of the narrator's burns and their treatment was grossly engrossing! The horrific initial descriptions draw you in and I empathised strongly with the protracted process of recovery. That said, it made for a long and rather static first half and once he left hospital I felt it picked up. The process of Marianne's sculpting actually came to life and her story of their apparent lives together in the past really started to develop some narrative drive. By the time they were fleeing the trackers I was flying along, but it did take a while to develop that level of engagement.

 

I loved the character of Marianne - intriguing, enigmatic and wild. The relationship with her gargoyles was fasincating and the business of 'releasing' them from the stone reminded me of similar observations by Michaelangelo. The narrator, however, I didn't engage with so well. Not so much because of his dodgy past but I found him more of an observer than character; oddly I just couldn't connect with him to the level I would expect with a narrator.

 

Perhaps that's why I didn't feel the full depths of the love story. Don't get me wrong, I thought it worked in many ways and when he comes to the realisation of his love for Marianne after his years of emotional isolation I felt a very satisfying twang within, but I think it could have been more. Perhaps the fact that the resonances of this love were spread over vast tracts of time made it trickier to engage with it on a fully grounded human level.

 

I very much enjoyed the four love stories, though I must say they didn't feel 'told' to me - they lacked the sense of a spoken narrative. They were, however, imaginative and distinctive. I particularly liked the story of Sei, though of course that inevitably drew us away from a sense of reality, since the events were utterly fanciful, feeling much more heavily like a fable. I also loved the way in which the elements of all these aspects overlapped, with the drowning, falling, burning etc., etc.

 

But, this is also where I ended up feeling dissatisfied, in that I expected a firmer payoff over all that. When the narrator sees the 'ghosts' at the Halloween party I thought that was a marvellous moment, raising the hairs on the back of the neck, and when we meet them in 'Hell' (a beautifully inventive section) we feel it all coming together. But then it doesn't. We're not sure what to think about them: their stories cross over with Marianne's, but to what real purpose? She has items supposedly made by them, but what has that really led to? The whole thing started with a shower of burning arrows creating the accident, but what was the truth about that? These cleverly interwoven aspects at the last hurdle fell apart for me because the linkages were interesting and inventive but ultimately hung loose.

 

At times the writing was striking and of note, but at other times I felt the prose to be lumpen or too self-conscious. Again, another element of the debut novel, I suspect.

 

Ultimately, it's a novel that collects together many elements that have the potential to make it a highly accomplished and best-selling book (hence the large deal) but it doesn't quite make it. Possibly it was a bit ambitious in scope for a first novel.

 

However, as I noted earlier, it's a great imaginative feat and its ideas will live with me for quite a while, so on that level it's a success and was definitely worth the read. With more experience under his belt I think Davidson has great potential!

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Perhaps that's why I didn't feel the full depths of the love story.!
I wasn't convinced by that either. But I thought it was lust translated (or even transliterated) into love. It wasn't as real as it could have been.

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I'm sure I must dream about posting on BGO as I was sure I had added my thoughts to this thread before Christmas.

 

The incredibly detailed portrayal of the narrator's burns and their treatment was grossly engrossing! The horrific initial descriptions draw you in and I empathised strongly with the protracted process of recovery. That said, it made for a long and rather static first half and once he left hospital I felt it picked up.

 

I think I had the opposite experience to you. I was also engrossed by the descriptions, and certainly think that first chapter will stay with me. I was fascinated by the recovery process though (and the involvement of so many different kinds of doctor), and felt that the slow moving first half of the book put across a lot of how our protagonist must have been feeling.

 

The process of Marianne's sculpting actually came to life and her story of their apparent lives together in the past really started to develop some narrative drive. By the time they were fleeing the trackers I was flying along, but it did take a while to develop that level of engagement.

I found the jumping backwards in time and back to the present frustrating - I wanted to see all of their past in one go (at one point I jumped a couple of chapters to see the completion of the story of their life in Mainz).

 

I particularly enjoyed the other stories - eg that of Sigur, and the husband in Florence - and appreciated how they wove together with the rest of the storyline, but felt that they may have worked better as stand-alone short stories (I wonder if they were originally written as such, and Davidson used them as the basis of this novel??).

 

I think this is a particularly intriguing choice for Richard and Judy's list, as it doesn't seem quite what I expect of them.

 

Once I started reading it, I must admit to finding it very heavy-going. I loved the initial synopsis, and think perhaps I was expecting more of a fast-paced thriller (mysterious stranger, burning arrows, all held together with story-weaving). Not for me (though my *** credit does justice to the fact that despite my struggles I didn't give up!), but I can see why others enjoyed it. I am passing it on to my brother, as I think he will appreciate it more than me.

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I think this is a particularly intriguing choice for Richard and Judy's list, as it doesn't seem quite what I expect of them.

Just noticed that they are discussing it today! 6.00pm on Watch.

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I was on my way home when this was on - any good? I heard it was.

Not bad. People were certainly positive about it and there was nothing more than balanced, constructive criticism. Richard was a little over-keen to talk about the pornography aspect and loss of bodily parts, but on the whole it was fine.

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A book that has stayed with me.

Recommend.

Edited by Clavain

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