09 December 2009

The Gargoyle

I've had The Gargoyle parked in my TBR/in-progress bin since it was released.  I was intrigued by the concept and since Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose is a favorite of mine I thought this would be a fun read.  I was a little incorrect.

It's not a very good read; the concept is particularly engaging but the actual writing does at times read like poorly executed pornographic film dialogue (perhaps that was the idea as the unnamed narrator is/was a rich man by way of the porn industry).  I really like the bones of this book - the intertwining of mysticism and death, the inclusion of the manuscript and sculpture work, the concept of physical versus spiritual beauty - but I feel like the narrative of the story got all jumbled. All the ancillary ghosts get all jumbled up with The Inferno and it doesn't quite make all that much sense. 

I keep thinking The Gargoyle was about 100 pages too long, that a great deal of the narrative meandering could have been streamlined. In the end, the major denoument of the story wasn't that hard to guess but it does leave more questions than answers - so not that satisfying. This book was supposed to be one of my favorites of 2008, a great story about a horribly burned porn star who becomes entangled with a questionably-sane woman who believes the two knew each other in 14-century Germany, but it just kept languishing on my TBR pile with a bookmark sticking out of the top, marking where I'd last gotten distracted.  An enforced snowday caused me to resurrect the poor thing and finish it off. 

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