A truly extraordinary book is a rare find. I used plow my way through dozens and dozens of books in search of one so magical that I would happily spend days lost in its thrall. But since Graham's birth and the resultant time crunch, I have discovered few.
And I have missed it.
I have missed the way in which an extraordinary book makes the world seem more exotic and full of possibility. I have missed being awestruck by the evocative power of a masterful wordsmith and the unfettered imagination of a gifted storyteller.
I have missed books like The Gargoyle.
The Gargoyle starts when the caustic protagonist, a morally bankrupt porn star, swerves to avoid a vision of fiery arrows and plunges his car into a ravine where it is consumed in flames. After awakening in a hospital abandoned by friends, financially bankrupt and essentially transformed into a human gargoyle by virtue of extensive and excruciating burns, he bides time and plots his suicide.
Until something extraordinary happens.
A beautiful, heavily-tattooed psychiatric patient and sculptress (of gargoyles, no less!) visits his bedside and claims to have been his lover some 700 years ago. Is she mad? At first the unnamed narrator thinks so . But eventually she draws him into her world and out of his despair with uncanny, historically- accurate accounts of their life together and mesmerizing tales of undying love from around the world and throughout the ages.
The Gargoyle is the debut novel by Andrew Davidson, a previously unknown Canadian who spent seven years crafting it full of illusions to myths and fables and great literature from the Bible to Dante's Inferno. It was the subject of a heavily-publicized bidding war for publishing rights and has received massive amounts of press since its release this past summer.
And for good reason.
It is impossible to characterize The Gargoyle. It could accurately be described as a mystery, a horror, a medical primer, a historical tome and a Gothic love story. Though at times overwrought, it is nonetheless one of the richest and most satisfying books I have ever discovered: truly extraordinary.
The Gargoyle is published by Random House Canada and would make a treasured Christmas gift for any book-lovers on your list. I also have three free copies to give away to Canadian readers only (sorry to my American friends). Leave a comment below to win. I'll close comments next Wednesday and publish the winners' names shortly after.