[[quoteright:313:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/2595138.jpg]]
->''"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 Myth/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/TheDivineComedy''. 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 chips away at a sculpture she made of him 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:Sigurðr]]
* [[CallAPegasusAHippogriff Call a Grotesque a "Gargoyle"]]: There's a difference, you know.
* CantHaveSexEver: Well, not in this life.
* 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: There's little the Narrator doesn't snark to. In his position he's also a DisabledSnarker and a StepfordSnarker.
* DeathByChildbirth: The Narrator's mother died after giving birth to him, leaving him completely orphaned as his father walked away from them.
* DisabledSnarker: The Narrator, post-accident
* DrivenToSuicide: The Narrator fantasizes about a ridiculously elaborate suicide whilst in the hospital. [[ForegoneConclusion Of course it didn't happen]], as he keeps being the narrator.
* 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. [[FoodPorn Do not read those chapters with a empty stomach]].
* 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.
* ForHalloweenIAmGoingAsMyself: Marianne Engel drags the Narrator to a Halloween party, dressing him up as a angel. He gets compliments from fellow partygoers on the amazing scar makeup.
* 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:Sigurðr 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]]: Thérèse, and she was [[spoiler: TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth]].
* LoonWithAHeartOfGold: Marianne Engel is a clearly unhinged sculptress of gargoyles, with her madness having religious overtones (she talks to unseen apparitions in Latin, etc.). She physically and psychologically helps the main character after a crash that leaves him severely burned and crippled.
* LoveFreak: Marianne Engel.
-->This Christmas Day had shown me that Marianne Engel's love was not feeble. It was strapping, it was muscular, it was massive. I thought that it could fill the entire hospital. More important, her love was not reserved only for me; it was shared generously with strangers people she didn't think were friends from the fourteenth century
* LoveHurts: The image on that page is freakishly accurate.
* MadArtist: Marianne Engel and then some.
* MadOracle
* ManOnFire: Played REALLY, REALLY straight.
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: To the ''extreme.''
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: [[spoiler: Marianne claims to have been alive since the thirteenth century, but Jack tells the Narrator that she met her in an insane asylum as a teenager, and Marianne may not be her real name; if nothing else for her account to be literally true then Marianne would have needed to either (physically) age backwards, or stop (physically) ageing around the time she claims to have first met the narrator, which, surely, somebody would have mentioned, and then began ageing again when she met Jack. However, the Narrator later finds two copies of The Inferno among her possessions, one of which is a German translation predating the first known translation by decades, with the hallmarks of an unknown scribe active in the Engelthal Monastery around the time Marianne claims to have lived there, and the other of which is an Italian copy which has been singed around the edges and has a hole in the image which matches the arrowhead necklace Marianne gave to him, which she claimed was made from the arrow he was shot with when she first met the 13th century version of him- damage which corroborates her story. Ultimately, evidence is given both ways, and while there's a chance that there's an element of truth to Marianne's stories, whether or not it happened to her and the Narrator is up for debate; it's unlikely that Marianne is ReallySevenHundredYearsOld, but it's possible that she's a reincarnation, much as she claims the Narrator must have been. She must have gotten those copies of The Inferno *somewhere*, but whether or not her story is true or that she found them somewhere and built the story around them is down to the reader to decide. She does have the funds, resources, and connections to get them analyzed, and it's likely that whoever did so would have come to the same conclusion as the experts the Narrator uses at the end of the book.]]
* MeaningfulRename: [[spoiler:Einarr and Friðleifr]] rename their child after [[spoiler:Sigurðr, 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 and probably something of a ClosetGeek among the people he used to hang out with.
* 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: Played with. Marianne Engel claims to be this, but everyone is skeptical of the claim. [[spoiler:After her death, the Narrator discovers two previously unknown and carefully preserved German and Italian translations of ''The Inferno'' in her safe deposit box. They were also scientifically dated to the time period that Marianne Engel claims to have first met the Narrator...meaning her initial story may or may not be true. He ultimately decides to keep both copies, while giving a nudge to the researchers on where to continue their research.]]
* ReligiousHorror: Lots, mostly [[spoiler:in Hell]]
* ReincarnationRomance: Maybe. Marianne Engel claims that she has been waiting for centuries for the Narrator to resurface. She also vaguely implies that each of the stories she tells him are actually of their previous lives together.
* RescueRomance: On several levels.
* RetGone: An in-universe example--Marianne's 13th-century work translating the ''[[Literature/TheDivineComedy 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.
* TheOphelia: Marianne Engel.
* ThePornomancer: The Narrator is this before his accident, rather literally
* ThePowerOfLove: The running theme of the novel. No matter what happens, Marianne Engel and the Narrator belong together and love gives them the will the live after tragedy.
* 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.)

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