follow us on

Book-Worm In Your Ear: The Architecture Of Fiction

The Architecture of Fiction is what I like to call the process by which authors build the 'worlds' of their novels. In the case of these two writers, their work also exhibit an affinity to our regular use of the word 'architecture'.

The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett (available on

Set in the cathedral city of Barchester, England, our main protagonist here is Arthur Prescott, passionate bibliophile and a Holy Grail enthusiast. Teaching English and writing the ultimate guidebook to the medieval cathedral are the center points of Arthur's life. The 'enemy' arrives in the lovely form of Bethany Davis, an American charged with digitizing the cathedral library's manuscripts. As in stories of this type, there is of course a lost book - in this case, that of Ewolda, a book that has been protected by a covert set of acolytes since the Norman Invasion, all the way to today. Whether the Book of Ewolda even exists or is just a legend, what secrets and revelations it may possess, and whether Arthur and Bethany will ever get their noses out from the books and 'sniff' each other out, are what drive this hugely entertaining novel. That we get so much history and trivia about cathedrals and Architecture are bonus points here.

The Gargoyle Hunters by John Freeman Gill (available at Fully Booked)

On one level, this novel can be regarded as a love letter to the New York buildings and architecture that is vanishing. At another level, it's a mystery solved - that of the disappearance of an entire historical building in 1974. And on a third level, the book is about a thirteen year old boy trying to reconnect with his estranged father; a father whose business is architectural salvage. The gargoyles of the title become the figurative and literal representation of what has to be saved from New York buildings. Funny at times, and tragic at times; the novel captures a particular place and time in Manhattan's history. It's also a bitter lesson about obsession (the father's), the inevitable stride of what we call Progress or Development, and how there are individuals caught in the cracks and fissures of an ever-changing urban-scape. Griffin, the boy on the cusp, is our guide to this world of Art, Fatherhood, and the consequences we pay.