Feeling the burn

Just five of the many things I loved about The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, which was amazing: 1. The novel opens with the most graphic car accident scene that I have ever read in my life. I continued to giddily dry-heave through the part where the unnamed narrator describes being burned alive, and straight into the skin harvests and debridements. The sicker this book made me, the more I knew I liked it. It reminded me of how good Chuck Palahniuk can be when he’s really on, and not just yammering repetitiously.

I stopped myself so many times to think “How the heck did Andrew Davidson know that? How did he describe that so well?”

2. I’m not one for period pieces, but the historical parts of this book are such tiny doses and so interesting and spaced so well, that it never feels like a chore to read it. And I wasn’t distracted by tights and bonnets. Plus, when one of the historical stories-within-a-story ends, the unnamed narrator’s voice comes back in an uber irreverent and contemporary pitch.

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3. The extra-long lists of foods that the mysterious, and perhaps mentally unstable, Marianne Engel provides at her trademark picnics. It’s ridiculous, but a menu that reads like food porn. The former actual porn star narrator just goes on and on and on until the list blows past silly and into absurd …

4. … And then, the unnamed narrator occasionally steps out of the story like Ferris Bueller to acknowledge that someone is reading these words he wrote. During one especially long list of pastas, he throws in Guglielmo Marconi “just checking to see if you’re still reading” and a few more jokes at the end.

5. That, I’m not sure where I read this, taking the first letter of every chapter makes a sentence. This is like finding an extra present in the pocket of your first present. Granted the present’s not that hot, but it’s the thought that counts.

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