The Gargoyle has been heavily influenced by some of Mr. Davidson's own favorite authors, who range from Vladimir Nabokov to Patrick Susskind to (go figure) the playful parodist Jasper Forde. The free-range erudition of books like Possession and The Name of the Rose also come to mind. And the wearyingly popular literary story-within-a-story format is used here to incorporate a wild, seemingly random array of tricks and tangents. But Mr. Davidson binds them together with vigorous and impressive narrative skill.
Janet Maslin - New York Times
Likely to ignite the passion of anyone who loves a mix of romance and the macabre…Nothing [the narrator]—or you—can assume about this spectacularly imaginative journey will help navigate its twists and turns. Before it's all over, like Dante before him, our narrator must visit Hades, and like every chapter of The Gargoyle, that's a hell of a story, too.
Ron Charles - Washington Post
(Starred review.) At the start of Davidson's powerful debut, the unnamed narrator, a coke-addled pornographer, drives his car off a mountain road in a part of the country that's never specified. During his painful recovery from horrific burns suffered in the crash, the narrator plots to end his life after his release from the hospital. When a schizophrenic fellow patient, Marianne Engel, begins to visit him and describe her memories of their love affair in medieval Germany, the narrator is at first skeptical, but grows less so. Eventually, he abandons his elaborate suicide plan and envisions a life with Engel, a sculptress specializing in gargoyles. Davidson, in addition to making his flawed protagonist fully sympathetic, blends convincing historical detail with deeply felt emotion in both Engel's recollections of her past life with the narrator and her moving accounts of tragic love. Once launched into this intense tale of unconventional romance, few readers will want to put it down.
At a modern-day hospital burn ward, a patient recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident is approached by a woman claiming to have been his lover in another lifetime. Davidson believably weaves historical detail into his first novel, adeptly developing even the most minor characters. Actor/screenwriter Lincoln Hoppe, meanwhile, performs the lead character's role to perfection with a gravelly, fire-damaged voice, and he incorporates a variety of accents and languages into his narration. Both an excellent piece of literature and an excellent work of narration, this should be considered for purchase by all public libraries.
(Starred review.) There’s pure magic here, a classic redemption story with a hero so cynical, so damaged that it seems so unlikely that he’ll ever reach for or even believe in salvation. When he does, the reward is immeasurable. Davidson’s Gargoyle is a rare gem: completely engrossing, wholly unforgettable, and utterly transcendent. —Kristine Huntley.
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