Thursday, April 16, 2009

the gargoyle by andrew davidson

the narrator of the gargoyle is a very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, who dwells in the moral vacuum that is modern life. as the book opens, he is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. he crashes into a ravine and suffers horrible burns over much of his body. as he recovers in a burn ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned, he awaits the day when he can leave the hospital and commit carefully planned suicide—for he is now a monster in appearance as well as in soul. 


a beautiful and compelling, but clearly unhinged, sculptress of gargoyles by the name of marianne engel appears at the foot of his bed and insists that they were once lovers in medieval germany. in her telling, he was a badly injured mercenary and she was a nun and scribe in the famed monastery of Engelthal who nursed him back to health. as she spins their tale in scheherazade fashion and relates equally mesmerizing stories of deathless love in japan, iceland, italy, and england, he finds himself drawn back to life—and, finally, in love. he is released into marianne's care and takes up residence in her huge stone house. but all is not well. for one thing, the pull of his past sins becomes ever more powerful as the morphine he is prescribed becomes ever more addictive. for another, marianne receives word from god that she has only twenty-seven sculptures left to complete—and her time on earth will be finished. 


dear andrew davidson,

a gorgeous cover inspired me to pick up your novel in the bookstore. it was haunting enough that i remember to add it to my library queue when i got home. your story is a unique one with familiar elements. you've spun something that's captivating and mesmerizing. yet, i applaud you for never making it cheesy. never once did i roll my eyes and think, cue bad movie music here. there is something about marianne that kept me turing the pages. your narrator was engaging enough as well, but sometimes he felt too heavy handed. or perhaps it was the way he seemed so detached from his history in the adult film industry. or maybe it was just that it kept coming up. he brought up porn one too many times. you've woven a plot the unwinds at a pace that pulls a reader along with just enough tension to keep me wondering how marianne is going to explain their relationship. i didn't stay up and devour it in one night, but it was solid and tantalizing enough. either way, simply a great debut and i look forward to your next book. 


dutifully yours,

a lone reader


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