Haunting is the best word to describe Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle. It’s been years since I read it and readily admit that for this review I scanned other reviews to jar my memory, but the haunting aspect of the novel has always stayed with me.
I do not believe the narrator is ever named however he tells his life story which begins with a childhood of sadness and abuse. He grows to be handsome, a porn star in fact, who becomes wealthy from selling noncommittal sex to the masses; soulless really. Then one day his car crashes and he burns. He becomes something of a gargoyle. Stuck in a hospital wishing for death he is visited by a sculptress who specializes in sculpting gargoyles. Described as mentally ill by the hospital staff she mesmerizes him with the story of their previous life together in medieval Germany when he was a mercenary soldier and she a nun who specialized in scribing various texts for the church.
The Gargoyle is heavy in symbolism but even so that doesn’t negate that at the heart of it is a love story that has spanned centuries and probably centuries yet to be. It is a great book to read during the winter months because it is dark but ultimately filled with hope. It is also a story about love exercised without physicality and desire for what can no longer be.
I recommend The Gargoyle. In the years between reading it and writing this review I was hoping to report of an impending movie version but that doesn’t seem to be. On further thought this story probably would not lend itself well to a cinematic interpretation. There is a lot of subtly in the plot which is best perceived in a favorite chair while drinking a hot beverage.