“Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love.”
This is the first sentence to begin a compelling story of one man’s journey from hell to love.
The Gargoyle is a book of multiple genres: contemporary, historical romance, paranormal, spiritual and fantasy; containing layered messages with symbolism and mysticism. The main character is the narrator, an unnamed individual, telling the story of his redemption after a horrific car accident in which he is broiled alive.
The detailed description of what happens in a burn unit and the pain the narrator lives through may put off some people, but it is important for the remainder of the story. Understandably he would have preferred to die and plots his suicide for when it is time to leave the hospital. His former porn associates are unable to cope with his new “ravaged” appearance and begin to drift away.
Through the efforts of his kindly doctor Nan Edwards, therapist Gregor, and Sayuri, a cheery Japanese physio-therapist they begin to bring him back from the edge. Then a mysterious young woman, Marianne Engel, appears, whispering “Engelthal” and tells him this is the third time he’s been burned.
Despite his initial concerns that the woman is a lunatic, he learns from her that she had lived in the 14th century as a nun at the Engelthal Monastery in Germany, employed as a scribe. She also knows the origin of the scar over his heart, and is acquainted with him during several reincarnations.
He soon forgets his suicide plans, waiting for Marianne’s visits and her stories of their previous lifetimes together and other love stories from Germany, Japan, Italy and Iceland. Each of these is well written and researched with compelling, fascinating descriptions of locations and historical components.
It is about relationships that change, through art, love and inner soul growth: situations that determine who people are. The narrative weaves Dante’s Inferno with the love stories from the past into the present where the narrator finally understands Marianne’s compulsive obsession of sculpting gargoyles from cement blocks, finding comfort and strength to overcome his limitations.
I liked this book with its intense scenes, funny moments, and concepts that are thought provoking. It is best read slowly, to savour the information as it is revealed.