Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gothic reincarnation of endless love and timeless devotion

The Gargoyle
Andrew Davidson

A sweeping gothic romance that spans 400 years, multiple reincarnations, and cultures from around the world. A story of one mans trials and triumphs to overcome severe physical injury and endure his personal hell in order to find peace with himself. An unbelievably touching depiction of true love and self sacrifice.

The unnamed narrator of The Gargoyle is a porn star and producer who places all of his self-worth in his looks and sexual skills. He is involved in a horrendous car accident that leaves his body severely burned beyond recognition and his chance at living is close to zero. Physically, he manages to survive but his mental health is far from healed; he no longer has the will to live and is a less-than willing patient. Then, Marianne Engel enters his life - a possibly mentally disturbed woman who carves gargoyles for a living and feels everything to the extreme, whether it be life or despair. Marianne continuously claims that she has loved him since the 1300's and tells him the story of their love. From Japan to Iceland to Italy to Germany, Marianne weaves stories of star-crossed lovers, enduring love, and destiny; with strong reflections of Dante's Inferno and the idea that each man's hell is unique and personal.

This book was an amazing surprise - I have heard about it for years and read numerous glowing reviews but never fully understood what the book was about. I was feeling a little bored with the typical romance plot and wanted a change; something more complex, perhaps not happily ever after, and realistic challenges that love faces - I couldn't have asked for more! This book was incredibly moving, often-times disturbing, and ultimately hopeful in an unlikely way.

What made me hold back the final star was that I have never read Dante's Inferno. I know the general gist of the nine circles of hell but I have a sneaking suspicion that the narrator's journey was more of a modern re-telling than I realize and the true genius of this novel went over my head. Even despite this lack on my part as a reader, the story was still enthralling...and has made me want to pick up Dante!

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