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The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

by Andrew Davidson

Spoiler: Yes

Rating: PG-13

Coffee Beans: 5/5

It’s amazing.

One of my favorite books is a nontraditional love story called The Gargoyle by Canadian author Andrew Davidson. Davidson has a remarkable talent of delivering a captivating and engaging story that recounts an unnamed main character and his short, but emotionally electric, relationship with a woman named Marianne Engel. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even realize the main character didn’t have a name until a friend asked me what it was. That’s how good the book is. I didn’t need to know his name. But for purposes of my review, I’m going to call him MC.

Here’s the set up: MC is handsome, sexy, a famous porn star/producer, rich, unfulfilled, selfish, arrogant, and an alcoholic/drug addict. A perfect combination for a fall from grace, after all, a man can only take so much. One night, on a drunken binge and a bottle of liquor between his legs, he gets into a horrific, fiery car crash, landing himself in the hospital burn unit with third degree burns covering his entire body, including that pesky and oh-so-important-to-a-porn-star spot between his legs. MC’s a man who’s entire sense of self worth and life is based on his sexuality, and with the emergence of the monster he’s become, he’s devastated.

During MC’s long stint in the hospital—complete with detailed scenes of bodily skin scrubbings—he’s visited by a dark-haired beauty with tattoos covering her body, who’s escaped from the psych ward in the hospital. Marianne explains that she releases stone gargoyles as they call out to her, and that she has dozens of hearts in her chest. Each creation she unearths is gifted with one. She tells him when her last heart is given away, she will finally get to go home.

Something about her intrigues MC and he uses that interest as a source of strength during his painful rehabilitation hours, looking forward to her visits. During his months of recuperation, Marianne paints vivid stories about the depth and strength of love, spanning eras and cultures, as well as their own love story that has lasted through hundreds of years and dozens of past lives. MC knows that she is crazy, but her moments of lucidity are what he falls in love with.

When he’s strong enough to leave the hospital, Marianne takes him to live with her, where she spins more tales of love and gives more of her hearts away to her stone creations. As the MC’s addiction to painkillers is revealed, Marianne does her best to wean him off the painkillers, but it is not an easy journey for him. In a feverish fit of sleep, MC goes to a place much like Dante’s Inferno, where he meets the characters of Marianne’s stories, all very real. Through this feverish journey, MC fights the demons of his addiction, his past, who he really is, and the very real possibility Marianne’s stories could their past. At the end of his journey, at the gates of hell, he must make a choice that will define the rest of his life; to go back or die.

He chooses Marianne and their love, but when he finally comes to, it’s to the realization that she has given away all of her hearts to more gargoyles. All but one, and that one she says, is for MC. At last, Marianne can go home. And at last, MC has found the love that he lost, so long ago.

Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. It’s an incredibly visual and sensational story of pain, growth, love and acceptance. The ending wasn’t warm and fuzzy, but it was satisfying and fulfilling. After I finished, sitting on my couch, I thought to myself, it couldn’t have ended in a more perfect way. In fact, to try and imagine any ending other than the Davidson gave it, is impossible. It fits the voice and the characters in a way that I haven’t seen from a book in a long time. Even though The Gargoyle is an international bestseller, in my opinion, it is still grossly unknown. I do my part trying to change that by suggesting it to everyone I know and screaming about it from the rooftops. I even have an extra copy to lend out. So do your part, read this book and suggest it to others.


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