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Publisher's Summary

An extraordinary debut novel of love that survives the fires of hell and transcends the boundaries of time.

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.

What members say

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ruth
  • Columbus, NJ, United States
  • 10-12-11

Well done

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I loved the stories with in the story

What other book might you compare The Gargoyle to and why?

Never heard anything quite like it.

Which scene was your favorite?

The glass blowers daughter.

If you could rename The Gargoyle, what would you call it?

It's the perfect title

Any additional comments?

I always recommend this book to everyone.

  • Overall

Just loved it!

When the book started I felt that it was going to be a book that I regretted purchasing. As the characters developed and the author began to weave interplaying story lines into the book I was hooked. I just loved it. A good read by an excellent author and Lincoln Hoppe never disappoints with his well-thought narrative.

  • Overall
  • Leslie
  • Racine, WI, United States
  • 04-17-10

French fried porn star!!

I was initially very grossed out when the author describes the car accident, but the story is fascinating and you don't really know where it is going to end up. Just get past the first chapter. well written and spoken book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Heart-Crushingly Hopeful

"I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away
I see my Marianne walkin' away...."
Boston, "More Than a Feeling," 1975

Two separate but related stories are going on in this novel, with maybe 3 or 4 meta-meta-fables of love being told the protagonist by his lover Marianne Engel (surname the German for "angel"). It works. Let me explain.

The novel starts out with our unnamed narrator looking back to himself a few years before he's telling this tale. Growing up a lonely kid, attractive to women, he became a self-centered drug-addicted hard-porn star who was all about the conquest, pulling out his package without fear of rejection or finding feelings. He was particularly proud of his countless victories bedding married women. A real life of drugs, sex and "lights, camera, roll."

Then he drives off the road into a ravine attempting to avoid hallucinatory arrows coming toward him from the woods. His car catches fire and he suffers the worst-degree burns to most of his body and, importantly to him, he loses the only tool of his trade.

He spends his time in the burn unit thinking of either his next hit of morphine or the advantages (or not) of myriad forms of suicide. Also, a devil of a snake has inhabited his spine, hissing evil thoughts.

A visitor named Marianne Engel, being treated for manic depression or schizophrenia in the hospital's psych ward, begins visiting him. She tells him that she knew him in 14th Century Germany, and spins a tale of a long-ago romance.

Marianne is a sculptress of stone grotesques (or gargoyles).* She makes him want to live. At her invitation, he moves in with her. Over time, she discloses their story between 3 or 4 more tales of romance spanning centuries and continents that give hope to our narrator as he falls desperately in love with her.

She reveals that she was a nun in 14th Century Germany when she met him. [any more of their past would be a spoiler]. When she nearly died in Germany she was given another chance at life and passage into heaven if she gave away her chest full of hearts, which she does through sculpting gargoyles. She is nearly finished with her endeavor.

The Gargoyle is a clever cosmic romance that heavily relies on Dante's Inferno as it explores and interprets the essence of faith in, and the ultimate sacrifice for, love. As Janet Maslin of the NYTimes proclaimed in her 2010 review, "...for all those who enter here, there is no need to abandon hope. Lessons are learned, love is found, spirits are restored, and faith is revealed, all in the overheated cauldron of Mr. Davidson's imagination."

Maybe an appropos description of this novel for me: heart-crushingly hopeful.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Neil
  • FUKUOKA, Japan
  • 01-13-11

A self-indulgence by the author?

While well written, this is an absolutely pointless novel. Little more than an exercise in endurance. I'm sorry I wasted time on it.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful