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 27 sculptures left to complete - and her time on earth will be finished.
Already an international literary sensation, The Gargoyle is an Inferno for our time. It will have you believing in the impossible.
©2008 Andrew Davidson; (P)2008 Random House, Inc.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
This is my 154th review. In all the books I have reviewed no matter how well I liked them I did find something to criticize. Let me say for the first time, that I found nothing to criticize in this novel. This is great writing and has great characters. I understand this is a debut novel. If so, you will want to get the book. It is going to be worth a lot of money some day.
Warning: There is a lot here about burn victims. The first two chapters which take approx. two hours to listen, are a graphic detail description of the main characters' accident and his burns. As I drove my face was in a constant grimace, because of the painful description of his burns and the description of burn treatment. Yet the writing is so good, I could not stop listening.
A few reviews ago I criticized a book for not having a plot or quest or goal. This reads like a biography, has no quest or goals, yet it is a great read. My words can not describe how good Davidson's words are.
If you liked "A Thousand Splendid Suns", " Outlander" or books period, you will like this novel.
I have never felt so inspired to write a review. This audio book impressively stands out beyond all other audio book I have listened to. It is nothing less than fantastic. I especially enjoyed the creativeness of the supporting stories as they provided wonderful suspense to the main story. I found in almost impossible to stop listening.
I loved this story and I disliked it (hate would be a little strong here). I had a really hard time with the very graphic description and detachment of the narrator and loved Marianne's stories. I loved the evolution of the main character but disliked his self-centeredness. I really enjoyed Marianne and her stories but didn't understand her manicness. Clearly, I'm conflicted on this book. Would I recommend someone else read/listen it? Definitely. Will I read/listen it again? Probably, just to better understand it. This book is not for the light of heart of the easily grossed out. It is an enduring love story and a unique historical fiction novel. It was good, but I'm not yet sure if it was amazing as all the hype seems to think it is.
I listened to this book based I a review I heard on NPR. I enjoyed it tremendously and hated for it to be over. I am listening to another book now and can hardly understand the narrator half the time, which really makes me appreciate the narrator of Gargoyle. The main plot is intriguing, as are the stories with the main story and the way the author brings them all together and finishes the book is very satisfying. I highly recommend this book.
The writing was pretty descriptive rather like a feast of words. The other stories within this story were wrought together very well.
I did get a bit impatient with the way it dragged on, especially with the main supporting story about the nun and the mercenary.
I would give it 5 stars but then I do not like tragedies; I thought the ending was just hopelessly twisted. Is it just me or do the tragedies win the most awards?
Absolutely. This book is not for the feint hearted. It is an unbelievable journey through so much. You will want to put the book down at the start, but persevere. It is so worth it. You will feel so much more enriched as a person.
The individual stories Maryanne Engel tells, based on history are amazing.
I loved Suri.
Not possible. You have to break it up. You need to give it some thought to appreciate it to it's full capacity. I actually listened to another book while I was listening to this one so that I could have some perspective.
A beautiful journey indeed!
This was a "wild card" download for me. The title has been languishing in my wish list for some time and the premise looked interesting. I found the story,( which is really a collection of stories woven together), fascinating and frequently very moving. I appreciated the different messages- of tolerance, redemption, human fraility, loyalty, forgiveness but the deeper themes don't detract from an all around good read. If you are looking for something completely different, here's your book.
I am a book junkie...I read and enjoy a variety of stories, so please don't "define me" by one book or review! :)
This is a thought-provoking, grown-up novel with real substance. Excellent writing guides the reader through an interesting journey, in first person with the main character, toward what you might call redemption after a horrible accident. A mysterious woman becomes his benefactor and helps prod his motivation through therapy and recovery. She is an eccentric character with stories to tell of the past, and she may or may not just be the love of his life. The narration by L Hoppe is excellent and (spot-on) in nurturing our acquiantance with the main character...a man who is decidedly flawed and who some might say has led a "sinful" past, but still is somehow likable. This is most likely due to his cutting honesty and his sharply acerbic, yet slightly humorus, observations and outlook on things and people around him, in which he does not spare himself being included. The narrative shows his humanity and the growth and transformation of his character throughout the story. Definitely worth a listen!
Say something about yourself!
i googled the author after the book wondering if this was real! well written.. great story and even better flashbacks? loved the stories she told.
Jazz Cat's Mom
Gargoyle is the love story of a man (whose name we never learn), terribly disfigured in an auto accident and resultant fire, and the woman, Maryanne, who befriends him and who may (or may not) be schizophrenic. Maryanne believes they were lovers in a long-ago past life and possibly throughout the ages until the present. The very best parts of the story concerned their long history together. She believes they are simply continuing where they left off, and you, like me, may end up believing that, too. I'm not at all attracted to the typical romance novel where boy meets girl, romance sizzles, they fight, solve mysteries, bite people's necks, (whatever) but finally live happily ever-after. Gargoyle was nothing like this. It was very well-written and read, intense, thought-provoking, funny at times, sad at times. I loved it!
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