That’s More Like It!August 4, 2008 at 6:46 am | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 2 Comments
Tags: Andrew Davidson, Book World, Ron Charles, The Gargoyle, thoughtful review versus jank review, Washington Post
Over the weekend my opinion of book reviewers (and those who talk about book bloggers as if they know us) in the mainstream media was trounced. How someone could actually read The Gargoyle and then simply dismiss it so flippantly completely floors me. If you did not like the book, it still deserves more than some snarky jokes to make the reviewer look good (in his own eyes at least). While Entertainment Weekly’s review was jank (I’ve been watching too much iCarly with my daughters), the Washington Post ran a thoughtful review written Ron Charles, a senior editor at Book World. Here are the opening and closing paragraphs to that review:
In the opening pages of The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson’s outrageous new novel, a pornographer high on cocaine runs his car off a mountain road. The vehicle bursts into flames and burns him to a crisp. Welcome to the pain-riddled world of an acerbic, 35-year-old man who loses everything in those fiery minutes: his career, his fortune, his skin — all broiled away. This is a story for people who like their literary entertainment well done.
The Christian mythology gets a bit heavy toward the end, and The Gargoyle is overcooked by at least 75 pages, but nothing is certain in this swirling novel of tales and legends. The narrator has seen enough horror movies to know that “a burn victim may ‘get the girl’ — but usually only with a pickax.” After all, he admits, “Marianne Engel’s love for me seemed built on so flimsy a premise that I assumed it would come apart.” Nothing he — or you — can assume about this spectacularly imaginative journey will help navigate its twists and turns. Before it’s all over, like Dante before him, our narrator must visit Hades, and like every chapter of The Gargoyle, that’s a hell of a story, too.
Thank you, Ron Charles and the Washington Post. You’ve headed off my admittedly immature response to completely shut out any and all reviews and commentary about book bloggers at the pass.