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The Gargoyle

The Gargoyle
Davidson, Andrew
Bantam Dell Pub Group
Publish date: 2008-08-05


The narrator of The Gargoyle is a very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, who dwells in the moral vacuum that is modern lifeAs the book opens, he is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrowsHe crashes into a ravine and suffers horrible burns over much of his bodyAs 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 soulA 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 GermanyIn 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 healthAs 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 loveHe is released into Marianne's care and takes up residence in her huge stone houseBut all is not wellFor one thing, the pull of his past sins becomes ever more powerful as the morphine he is prescribed becomes ever more addictiveFor another, Marianne receives word from God that she has only twenty-seven sculptures left to complete-and her time on earth will be finished.


In The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (Doubleday), also a debut novel, the narrator wakes up in a burn ward having barely survived a flaming auto accidentSoon he is visited by Marianne, a sculptor of gargoyles, who helps care for him and tells him a long story about their previous life together in 13th century Germany, where she nursed him back to health after he is wounded in battleThe parallel narratives include as much about modern medicine as medieval monastic life, and demonstrate the lasting quality of both love and art.