Monday, August 10, 2009

With Pain, My Gain

When I twisted my back into a spasm yesterday, I spent the day in the only chair not causing more pain and started reading Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle. And reading. (Thanks to my cousin Carole for the recommendation!)

If someone would have told me I’d be so into a book about a drug-addict porn star who drives off a cliff and suffers burns on 90% of his body, I’d have told them to check my coffee for hallucinogens. I'm on page 285 (out of 465), so I'm still not sure where it's going, but that's the beauty. The writing is so good, I don't care.

It was not unlike the feeling I had while reading Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants. Why should I want to read about a Cornell vet school dropout joining the circus and meeting up with gritty nutjobs? So different from anything I normally read. But every word was incredible. And then, on the back of The Gargoyle, I found a blurb from Sara Gruen: "I was blown away by Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle. It reminded me of Life of Pi, with its unanswered (and unanswerable) contradictions. A hypnotic, horrifying, astonishing novel that manages, against all odds, to be redemptive." Now that she mentions it--of course. Life of Pi was another of those deeply affecting, unforgettable stories. There you go, a trifecta of oddly wonderful novels.

The kind that has me wondering how on earth I can call myself a writer, while at the same time, making me work that much harder to hone my craft. I'd never have spent the whole day reading (well, never isn't entirely accurate) if I hadn't hurt my back, but I'm glad I did. My gain. And my chiropractor's.