After a horrific car accident, a former porn star has lost nearly everything: he has had to sell his production company to help pay his medical bills, he has lost all his possessions, and the accident has completely destroyed his appearance. He has lost fingers and toes, hair and skin, and perhaps the most stunning of all, his genitals have also been lost. As he begins his recovery, he decides he’s only going to get well enough to be released- and then he’s going to commit suicide. However, while in the hospital, he meets a young woman named Marianne Engel. Marianne is a sculptor who has been admitted as a psych patient, and she insists that she’s known him since the 1300s. As the narrator slowly recovers from his injuries, Marianne tells him stories- the story of how they first met, and the stories of other people who existed at different times and different places. All the while, she continues sculpting the gargoyles for which she is famous at a frenetic pace. Ultimately, it falls to the narrator and the reader to try to determine whether or not she really is crazy, or whether her stories have any real meaning.
This is one of those novels that was engrossing from start to finish, but I had to put it down regularly, particularly in the beginning. I cringed more than once reading the descriptions of the accident and the physical consequences (such as the body parts lost or damaged). Davidson’s descriptions are vivid, and I was intrigued by the amount of details he was able to provide on a number of different things throughout the novel. Though the narrator and Marianne had an interesting contemporary story, I relished Marianne’s stories about the past, whether it was the story of how she and the narrator met and fell in love, or the stories of others who come into play in a surprising way later in the novel.
I know there aren’t many in the book blogging world who have yet to read and review this book, but for those who have not, I definitely recommend this book. It has something for just about everyone.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Qualifying Challenges: 100 Books, Countdown Challenge, 999 Challenge, Winter Reading Challenge
999 Category: From the TBR pile