Monday 9 July 2007

Gargoyles by Bill Gaston

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPublished by House of Anansi Press

As those of you who read this blog regularly will know, it is not often that I comment on the cover of a book. With Gargoyles, the reader can't help but be affected by the vibrant, exhilerating and almost childlike design which whispers promises of an unforgettable experience. A promise which the author upholds brilliantly!

There are 12 stories within these pages. All of which take the reader on a rollercoaster ride through what seems like the entire spectrum of the human emotions. The style of writing is unforgettable and simply incredible.

In The Night Window, the author perfectly captures the mindset and personality of a teenager and names him Tyler. Tyler is about to take a trip with his mother and her boyfriend, which he is less than thrilled about. We are treated to his thoughts and feelings in such an energetic way and when Tyler ventures off in his own direction, the reader is then treated to a wonderfully suspenseful and eye-opening experience.

In Gargoyles, we are introduced to a trio of characters. A man in his seventies, his estranged wife and their son. The man is quite eccentric and has a fascination with gargoyles. I love that he also has a very novel way of trying to solve certain problems in the world. In this story we witness the complex dynamic within the family, as a son tries to understand more about his father and along the way, discovers himself.

One of my favourites, is probably Freedom. In this tale, we meet Wa, an American who has spent much of his life in Paris and has recently returned to America. He is filled with a sense of admiration, positivity and awe. How can he not? In paris they didn't have his two favourite types of stores, gunshops and pawnstores. After maxing out his mother's credit card, she kicks him out with his few possessions and an address for a shelter. A mixup involving a gun, a bull, and a beanbag, leaves him homeless and alone on the streets with little but his gun, poor language skills and innocence to keep him company. What follows in an intense situation that leaves the reader wanting to cover their eyes to block it out.

The author has a great way with words and is a master of storytelling. The only regret I had by the end of this book, was that it had ended. Bill Gaston is easily one of my most favourite writers of all time and I look forward to discovering more of his works. No matter what your reading tastes, try this book. I am sure you won't regret it. It's one of the best books I have read this year.

Update: Gargoyles has won the ReLit Award for Short Fiction!

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