The Gargoyle

The Gargoyle
by: Andrew Davidson

Challenges: TBR

Published: 2008

# of pages: 465

Quote: "You are mine, I am yours; you may be sure of this. You've been locked inside my heart, the key has been thrown away; within it, you must always stay." -pg. 461

This is a hard book to review because I loved it so much. I want to convey the tone of the book and the feelings I had while reading it, but I know I won't be able to do that. It took a few chapters to get into the book. The main character isn't a good person, as a matter of fact, I was disgusted by him. He reminded me of Florentino in Love in the Time of Cholera, a perverted man who may have seemed successful in the eyes of the world, but was really alone and unfulfilled. Thankfully he changes in a wonderful way.

The narrator, who remains unnamed (it's fascinating, I didn't notice that he is unnamed until page 419, almost the end of the book...I normally always noticed an unnamed narrator) begins his story with his hospital stay after he's been in a horrifying car accident that leaves him burned beyond recognition. Such an accident would be bad enough for anyone, but it's devastating for him because of who he was before the accident - an incredibly handsome porn star. He's left without a career and without friends. He plans to kill himself after being discharged from the hospital, but an unexpected visit from a woman named Marianne Engel changes everything.

Marianne Engel claims that they were lovers in 14th century Germany. He brushes her off as crazy, but continues to humor her visits and slowly comes to look forward to them so that he can spend time talking to her about any and everything and to hear her stories about their "past life" and the other people she claims to have known from many different places and times throughout history. She also reads Dante's Inferno to the narrator, a piece of literature that is entwined throughout The Gargoyle.

Not only is the present day story of the narrator and Marianne fascinating, Marianne's stories of the past are also captivating. They all have a common theme - true love that requires great sacrifice and lasts beyond death. The historic details are incredible, it's obvious that Davidson did a lot of research while writing this novel and it sure pays off. The stories all come together towards the end of the book and now that I've finished they are sticking in my mind. This would be a great book to read for a book club and then discuss. For example, it's interesting that the narrator remains unnamed, but Marianne Engel is referred to by her first and last name almost every time she is mentioned. Also, how does the story of Siguror fit in at the very end of the novel, with the narrator and Marianne's story?

This is now one of my all time favorite books and I recommend it to all adults. The novel is graphic in the descriptions of the narrator's burns and his sexual past and contains some language, so I don't recommend it to young adults.

Other reviews:
Tripping Toward Lucidity
Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Wow, great review! I've seen this book around, but haven't picked it up yet. Now I will!

Sorry I haven't been around much, it's been a hard year so far. I've just been updating my blogroll and added you, so I'll be back far more often - you and I read some of the same kinds of books!

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