->''"Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love."''
-->-- ''[[NoNameGiven The Burned Man]]''

A 2008 [[HistoricalFiction historical]][=/=][[FantasyLiterature fantasy]][=/=][[RomanceNovel romance]] novel by Andrew Davidson about a porn actor/drug addict burn victim who meets an [[MadArtist eccentric artist]] who claims to know him from another life--several, actually--and spins him endless yarns of their lives together as he slowly recovers. Eventually, she takes him back to her home, where she works obsessively on her art, endlessly carving grotesques out of stone for days and weeks on end, as she believes it to be her [[MissionFromGod mission]]. Soon, it's not clear who is caring for whom. Is Marianne Engel just harmlessly [[CloudCuckoolander loony]], or perhaps [[ThroughTheEyesOfMadness dangerously unhinged]], or is there something real within her stories? Relies heavily on ClassicalMythology, all sorts of issues of HeavenAndHell, as well as ample FunWithForeignLanguages as she tells The Narrator stories from throughout the ages.

Compare to: ''Literature/AmericanGods'', ''Literature/DivineComedy''. Not to be confused with ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' the series.

* AlternateHistory
* AntiquatedLinguistics: Marianne Engel has a rather grand, flowery way of speaking.
* ArrangedMarriage: More like "forced"--attemped by the daimyo on Sei. It doesn't really work out.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Subverted with The Narrator--he was beautiful before, but he eventually feels that he only becomes a good person after being horribly disfigured.
* BigFancyHouse: Castle, actually
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Marianne Engel, claiming that her hearts are all gone, commits suicide by walking into the ocean. The Narrator, while heartbroken, carries on with his physical therapy, and takes up sculpture to remind himself of their love.]]
* TheBlackDeath: Kills [[spoiler:Francesco and Graziana]]
* BodyHorror: One word: [[spoiler:penectomy]] Not to mention the rest of the burns.
** The Narrator's "snake," a.k.a. his [[spoiler: horrendous morphine addiction.]]
* BriefcaseFullOfMoney
* BuriedAlive: [[spoiler:Sei]] and [[spoiler:The Narrator, briefly, in the beginning of his vision of Hell]]
* [[BuryYourGays Burn Your Gays]]: [[spoiler:Siguršr]]
* [[CallAPegasusAHippogriff Call a Grotesque a "Gargoyle"]]: There's a difference, you know.
* CantHaveSexEver: Well, not in this life.
* ChristmasCake: Referenced by name in relation to Sayuri.
* ChurchMilitant: Agletrudis.
* CirclesOfHell: Literally.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Marianne Engel. Even if her stories are completely true, she's still quite weird - and she herself acknowledges this.
* DeadpanSnarker: The Narrator
* DeathByChildbirth: The Narrator's mother
* DisabledSnarker: The Narrator, post-accident
* DrivenToSuicide: The Narrator fantasizes about a ridiculously elaborate suicide whilst in the hospital
* DrugsAreBad: In a way--they cause The Narrator's car crash, but he eventually considers that to have been a good thing, and when he detoxes from the morphine, [[spoiler:he goes on an epic journey of self-discovery through Hell.]] So, not ''entirely'' bad...
** But they're certainly bad in the case of The Narrator's adoptive "parents," who [[spoiler:eventually die in a meth lab explosion and are seen in Hell]]
* FancyDinner: Marianne Engel organizes many of these.
* FlorenceNightingaleEffect: Played with. In the hospital, Marianne Engel doesn't do anything directly medical for The Narrator, she just provides him with friendship and distraction. Later, at her home, though, she does care for her. Played straight in the 13-century storyline.
* FramingDevice: The book is written like a memoir of The Narrator and Marianne Engel's relationship and the circumstances that drew them together.
* ForeignLookingFont: Used all over the place.
* FullNameBasis: Marianne Engel is almost ''always'' referred to by her full name. Though it [[spoiler:may or may not be her real name; she just started calling herself that at some point]]
* GenderBlenderName: Jack, Marianne Engel's manager and art dealer. It's short for Jacqueline, but [[BerserkButton never call her that.]]
* HollywoodAtheist: Avoided. The Narrator states early on that he doesn't believe in God, and while he certainly becomes more interested in theology and even [[spoiler:goes to Hell, sort of]], he doesn't change his mind.
** And his reasons for not believing in God aren't anything as simple as EvilStoleMyFaith or his traumatic childhood.
* IncompatibleOrientation: [[spoiler:Siguršr and Einarr.]]
* {{Karma}}: Subverted--The Narrator's injuries sure seem like poetic justice, especially [[spoiler:losing his penis when he was practically a sex addict]], but he states that since he's an atheist, he doesn't believe God or anything else was out to get him, his accident was just chance.
* [[LittlestCancerPatient Littlest Burn Victim]]: Thérčse
* LoveHurts: The image on that page is freakishly accurate.
* MadArtist
* MadOracle
* ManOnFire: Played REALLY, REALLY straight.
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: To the ''extreme.''
* MeaningfulRename: [[spoiler:Einarr and Frišleifr]] rename their child after [[spoiler:Siguršr, after he dies saving them]]
* MercyKill: A few times: [[spoiler:Francesco]] asks [[spoiler:his brother]] to do this when [[spoiler:he's dying of the plague and his wife has already died, and he does, with an arrow to the heart.]] This is then echoed when [[spoiler:Marianne]] kills [[spoiler:her husband this way when he's been slowly tortured to death by Kuonrat]]
* MissionFromGod: Marianne Engel believes that she has been told [[spoiler:to give away her thousands of hearts, and so she "frees" gargoyles from their stone and gives them hearts]]
* NearDeathExperience
* NerdsAreVirgins: Wildly subverted with The Narrator, who claims to be a book lover
* NeverFoundTheBody: [[spoiler:Marianne Engel, after she walks into the sea]], and [[spoiler:Tom]]
* NoFourthWall: The Narrator regularly refers to "this story" and "this book" and addresses the reader directly, often [[MetaGuy acknowledging]] things that seem unbelievable or speculating about the reader's reaction to certain things.
* NoNameGiven: We are never told the narrator's name, not even when [[spoiler:Marianne Engel carves it into her chest with a chisel]]
* NunTooHoly: Marianne Engel, in her 13th-century version.
* OffWithHisHead: The fate of [[spoiler:Brandeis]]
* {{Omniglot}}: Marianne Engel.
* PairTheSpares: [[spoiler:Gregor and Sayuri]]
* ParentalNeglect: The Graces are drug addicts and basically do nothing to raise The Narrator
* PowerTattoo: Marianne Engel is covered in 'em
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld
* ReligiousHorror: Lots, mostly [[spoiler:in Hell]]
* RescueRomance: On several levels.
* RetGone: An in-universe example--Marianne's 13th-century work translating the ''[[DivineComedy Inferno]]'' was erased from history because [[spoiler:she left the convent and got married.]]
* ScarsAreForever: The Narrator's burns, to be sure, but before that, the mysterious scar on his chest, which is later revealed to be [[spoiler:from being shot with an arrow in his past life--twice. Maybe.]]
* SeekingSanctuary: Used a few times in the 13th century plot.
* ShotgunWedding: [[spoiler:Sayuri and Gregor]], although her parents aren't actually all that mad.
* ShoutOut: Marianne Engel has sold her gargoyles to "[[Creator/StephenKing one writer who is almost universally recognized as the king of the horror genre]]," as well as a "[[Creator/TimBurton director known for his highly poetic films about outcasts]]" who has "a mop of wild dark hair" that resembles Marianne Engel's.
* ShownTheirWork: Davidson clearly did a shit-ton of research about burns and burn treatment.
* SomeoneToRememberHimBy: In the 13th-century story--subverted, kind of, because [[spoiler:the baby dies, or is 'taken' from her by God somehow]]
* SwitchingPOV: The modern-day story is told by the unnamed burned man; the other stories are told by Marianne Engel, in the second person when she's telling him what she believes to be their story from another time. The "bitchsnake" (i.e., the evil part of the narrator's mind) also pops in with commentary now and again.
* ThePornomancer: The Narrator is this before his accident, rather literally
* ThePowerOfLove
* TheStoryteller: '''Marianne Engel.''' Good grief.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: The Narrator's planned suicide is decidedly over-the-top, and [[spoiler:his death in the 13th century: beaten, shot at, nailed to a wall and slowly burned alive]] is also rather elaborate and agonizing, leading to [[spoiler:Marianne]]'s MercyKill
* ToHellAndBack: Literally...well, sort of. [[spoiler:He's detoxing from morphine and debates internally about whether he's hallucinating, but then eventually decides not. The experience is highly meaningful, anyway.]]
* UnreliableNarrator: The burned man believes Marianne Engel to be this for a while, but...it's debatable
* WidowWoman: [[spoiler:Vicky]]
* WipeThatSmileOffYourFace: The Narrator says this to the eternally cheerful Sayuri, complete with racist slur. (He apologizes, though.)
** Funny thing was he WASN'T racist. Considering just how much the Narrator knows about Japan, it implies he's very interested in the Japanese culture. He just wanted to piss her off and thought that was the best way. (It wasn't.)

----