Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson

I've decided to post a few more reviews on this blog. Concise reaction: this is a good book. My favorite sequence was the mystical/spiritual journey in the final third of the novel. The author did a nice job of adapting a chunk of The Inferno, and tying it in with the Niflheim viking section and so on. At times Davidson was guilty of padding of his narrative, especially but not entirely in the first third. The accident and character biography and hospital treatment section was ok, just overdone. He should have moved on to the appearance of Marianne much sooner. Then after her introduction the story needed to move more quickly past the 'getting to know Marianne' hospital visits to their past life together. The attempt to build mystery about Marianne and do a 'gradual reveal', instead threatened to bog down the entire plot. Some of the short tales that lay outside the main plot, though of course meant to connect thematically, were quite good. I especially enjoyed the stories of Galileo and of the dragon. But many were not interesting, or perhaps there were just too many of them. The central plot was ok. And the writing was overall capable, but as stated earlier the writer had a tendency to drag a scene or sequence on too long. And sometimes would add unnecessary information in narrative asides, for example, providing detail on the history of morphine, and pointing out that the character had to be injured before he could learn to feel. Disguising this as narrator thoughts is no excuse, the reader does not need the former and can figure out the later for themselves. The novel could have benefited from being edited down by a third. But overall it was a good book and a decent read.

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