Six weeks after her fortieth birthday, Harriet is struck by a rare and life-threatening illness. What follows is a long and arduous stay at Charing Cross Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit. From the first day in Critical Care, whenever she tries to sleep, the backs of her eyes come alive with soul-sucking gargoyles; she remains awake for the entire six weeks. Such wakefulness produces its own hallucinations: the gargoyles become metaphors for lurking demons, fear of death, the relationship she had with her late father, and her dream of having a family.
A stunning blend of poetic memoir and explorative essays, Gargoyles explores the effects of illness, grief, love, and loss, but also memory; what we learn from our parents; seeking to understand pitfalls; and most of all, celebrating that which is in front of us, not taking our lives and health for granted. Sometimes, we have to learn to live with the gargoyles.