Published by Anchor on Aug 4, 2009
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Paperback from Purchased
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
The Gargoyle: the mesmerizing story of one man’s descent into personal hell and his quest for salvation. On a dark road in the middle of the night, a car plunges into a ravine. The driver survives the crash, but his injuries confine him to a hospital burn unit. There the mysterious Marianne Engel, a sculptress of grotesques, enters his life. She insists they were lovers in medieval Germany, when he was a mercenary and she was a scribe in the monastery of Engelthal. As she spins the story of their past lives together, the man’s disbelief falters; soon, even the impossible can no longer be dismissed.
This was a mesmerizing story told in a lyrical manner. The poetic prose made me read in short bursts to avoid being overwhelmed by the story. Unlike when I tear through books, this book demanded slower reading; a story to be savoured.
The story centres around an unnamed main character who is a former cocaine-addicted port star. He suffers a terrible car accident and is horribly burned. The story starts with his recovery in the burn ward, and leads to his life with Marianne, a woman who may be schizophrenic or bipolar, but is definitely a talented artist. The “hero” isn’t a really nice man, but his recovery and life with Marianne lead to some dramatic changes. They felt realistic at the time, and it’s really only in looking back that you realize how much has changed.
Much of the story is told as stories by Marianne. These stories are full of love and sacrifice. They were romantic and tragic, and made for excellent interludes.
Overall, this was a magical book. I was impressed at the storytelling, and the way the book transformed horrible actions into beautiful prose. I’d highly recommend this story to everyone, and I can’t believe how long it took me to read it.