So, I have to admit, I haven’t actually finished The Gargoyle yet, but I’m halfway through and really loving this book. It has a few problems, but still, I think we’ll have lots to discuss. Here are some questions I cribbed from LitLovers–there are a few more questions on that site, but I didn’t want to give anything away for those of you still reading.
1. The Gargoyle begins with arguably one of the most stunning opening scenes in contemporary literature. How was the author able to make horrifying details alluring? What was your initial reaction to these images?
2. How were you affected by the narrator’s voice and his ability to address you in an intimate, direct monologue? How did his storytelling style compare to Marianne’s? In what ways did these tales balance reality and surrealism?
3. Arrows form a recurring symbol throughout the novel. What are their various uses as tools of war and of love? What makes them ideal for Marianne’s stories?
4. What medical aspects of the narrator’s treatment surprised you the most? Did his gruesome journey change the way you feel about your own body?
5. How did Marianne’s experience of God evolve and mature throughout her life? How do you personally reconcile the concept of a loving God and the reality of human suffering?
6. Marianne uses her body as a canvas. What messages does it convey? How does the narrator “read” bodies before his accident, both in front of the camera and while picking up less-dazzling strangers?
7. Discuss the role of ghosts and memory in The Gargoyle. In what ways does the past repeat itself? How are the characters shaped by past circumstances? When are their painful cycles to be broken?
8. What does Marianne’s copy of The Inferno indicate about the value of books beyond their content? In what way can a book also be an art object, or an artifact of history?