Here is another installment of my favorite m/m books. Its title gives no clue to its impact. It stands out as unique among others I have read, because its most compelling character is a gargoyle. Since reading it, I’ve learned there are other gargoyle stories out there but, this one holds a special place in my heart. And, I might add, after reading four others, none are as well written.
The gargoyle Rodney’s life began across the ocean in the British Isles over 150 years ago. Then he was brought to the United States in the 1920s to adorn a beautiful art deco building. During the day he sits guard on a stone base overlooking the street. At night, he explores the city, reads, and watches people. But he is essentially tethered to his stone perch, having always to return to it before the sun rises on the new day.
David is the son of a successful building contractor, a father who wants him to marry, settle down and take his rightful place in the company. David’s wishes don’t even begin to fall in line with these plans, but his father holds the purse strings and threatens to cut him off if he doesn’t comply.
A chance encounter between David and Rodney forges a bond between the two. David is torn over his father’s hold on his future and finds Rodney a perfect sounding board for his woes. He tells Rodney he feels as if he is locked in a cage. Rodney, who unseen, speaks from the shadows of the building’s rooftop, urges David to break free and challenges his indecision. At one point Rodney tells him, “Any cage where you have the key, where the goddamn door is open, only you’re too chickenshit to walk out of it, is no cage at all.” (page 27)
The characterization of the gargoyle, Rodney, is perfection. He is a charming mix of innocence and worldliness. Intellectually, he knows much, yet is guileless. His personal experiences are limited by the invisible leash that holds him and the cycle of the earth ’round the sun. His life is simple and his belongings few, yet he holds them as precious.
The story is short, 245 e-pages, but Madison pulls the reader in by the heartstrings and doesn’t let go. I find myself being pulled back time and time again to spend time with Rodney, David and their magical world.