Harriet Mercer / Memoir

Book cover

UK Publisher

Dead Ink Books

Date Published

April 8th, 2021

Six weeks after her fortieth birthday, Harriet is struck by a rare and life-threatening illness.

What follows is a painful and arduous stay at Charing Cross Hospital.

From the first day in Critical Care, whenever Harriet 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, her relationship with her late father, and her dream of having a family.

A stunning blend of poetic memoir and essays, Gargoyles explores the effects of illness, grief, love, and loss, but is also about the power of memory, which both haunts and enriches.

It asks us to celebrate that which is in front of us, not taking our lives and health for granted.

Sometimes, this means we have to learn to live with the gargoyles.


Both haunting and empowering, it’s unlike any other book you’ve read.

- The Face

Experimental and daring, tender and compelling; Gargoyles is a story of illness, trauma and self-knowledge that has burnt itself into my mind forever. I urge you to read this beautifully written and startling book.

- Rebecca Tamás author of Strangers & WITCH

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