The Gargoyle - Andrew Davidson This book wrecked me.

The unique story is at once a sweeping epic spanning 700+ years and an intimate look at beautiful vignettes of metaphysically connected lovers.

A car accident leaves our narrator (note that we never know his name) horrifically burned and in a hospital bed for months, during which time he meets the mysterious Marianne Engel, a sculptor of gargoyles who, over the course of the book, tells him the tale of their past life together. The present-day narrative reveals the development of their re-relationship and the narrator's struggles with both the healing process and his acceptance of his new physical hideousness. Marianne's narrative of the past "reminds" our narrator of their life together in medieval Germany and the passion, love, adventure, and terror they experienced during those times. Along the way, Marianne tells truly lovely, lyrical, and heart-wrenching tales of fated lovers in Japan, Italy, England, and Iceland.

I don't know what else to say other than that this book was a roller coaster of a read. It spoke on so many levels of the strength of true love and how it can reveal itself in so many ways and in such a variety of settings. Initially, when I first finished it and as a kneejerk reaction, I was marginally skeptical of the depth of our narrator's present-day love for Marianne, most likely because I was comparing his sometimes detached descriptive narrative voice to the emotional depth and power of the love conveyed in each of the stories told in Marianne's narrative voice. In retrospect and upon further reflection, however, I realize that he shows his love for her through his actions; indeed, his final action does that which Marianne has promised it would do from the start.

This story isn't really a romance, but it is. I can't describe it well enough to do it justice because it doesn't really fit any category. It worked through my mind, it spoke to my emotions, it twisted and turned, but ultimately, it left me with the story of a man who, by losing his physical perfection, gained his inner eye and found his heart.

4.5 stars.