In this remarkable collection, Bill Gaston crafts his fiction around the idea of the gargoyle — the concrete representation of extremes of human emotions. This marvelous, riotous, Rabelaisian world contains gargoyles that are physical manifestations of the disfigurements and contortions to which human beings subject themselves. Each of the collection’s 12 stories has a strange and unique guardian spirit whose sometimes benevolent, sometimes malevolent presence informs the characters and their actions. A boy struggles with self-image and the need to fit in. A grieving parent tries to prevent others from making his mistake; tragedy ensues. A vengeful son settles a score with mom and her new lover. Other stories focus on familial delight, as well as discord in the lives of an over-the-top artist, a drunken uncle, and a bitter writer. All show one of Canada’s finest writers at the top of his form.