Doubleday ponied up a reported $1.25 million for Andrew Davidson’s debut novel, The Gargoyle — and if they were paying for just the unintentionally hilarious sentences, that would work out to about $10,000 per howler. This much-hyped book is eye-bulgingly atrocious, packed with medieval history to disguise prose that’s worse than your average Dungeons & Dragons blog. The unnamed narrator is a repugnant coke-addled porno actor (credits include Doctor Giving Bone, I Presume) who, in the first scene, burns himself alive after driving off a bridge while high. He spends the first never-ending 200 pages of the book in the hospital getting taunted by a chatty ”bitchsnake” who lives in his spine, prompting a Herculean bit of alliteration that sounds like Dante’s Inferno translated by Dr. Seuss: ”The sibilant sermons of the snake as she discoursed upon the disposition of my sinner’s soul seemed ceaseless.” Ssssseriously?
Soon, a woman enters — the tattooed Marianne, a carver of stone gargoyles by day who insists that she and the narrator were lovers in the 14th century, when she was a nun and he carried a crossbow. Gradually, the shriveled porno-actor gargoyle learns — awww — to love. But first, Marianne has an amusing moment while eating vegetarian pizza naked. ”A cheese strand dangled from her mouth to the edge of her left nipple,” the narrator reports, ”and I wanted to rappel it like a mozzarella commando to storm her lovely breasts.” The real expert on cheese here is Davidson. D