The Gargoyle - Andrew Davidson I had reservations regarding this novel straight from the beginning. In reading the dust jacket I read the beginning sentence containing "The moral vacuum which is modern life". Judgment anyone? I know a lot of people of different walks in life and few think of themselves in a moral vacuum. Then there is the statement that The Gargoyle is "an Inferno for our time". Rubbish. Inferno is an Inferno for our time. I expected a spiritual bias and there is one. As I got into the story I also felt the author was starting to mislead us. Is this going to be a supernatural story? A horror story? A Gothic romance? maybe all?

Well, it turns out to be a little of all and nothing at all. What Andrew Davidson finally wrought is a romance that is open-ended in its genre, hinting of the supernatural, a la reincarnation, yet hedging its bets. I felt a little cheated. However the author is a fine storyteller and this became the real strong point. I became most interested in the stories of Marianne more than Marianne herself and how they would tie together. The main protagonist, name unknown, is not very likable at first but is in a situation no one would wish on their worst enemy and he develops into a fascinating character which I could root for. Marianne herself is unfortunately a caricature of a schizophrenic, the kind that can only exist in fiction so we can find nobility in what is the most uncharismatic affliction. At the end, the author stacks the deck for reincarnation but there are enough smoke and mirrors throughout the book that I felt slightly manipulated.

In reading the above, you think I would have gave this one or two stars. But actually I did enjoy the novel. I like the weaving of the Marianne's separate tales in the fabric of the narrator's main story. I found the minor characters to be wonderful side trips that accented the main thrust. And I did end up caring for Marianne and the narrator immensely. In spite of my reservations, this is an exceptional debut by a writer who will probably only get better.