Our narrator is drunk driving down a lonely,scenic California highway. He takes his hands off the wheel to take a swig out of the bottle of liquor he's holding between his legs. Suddenly he think that he sees hundreds of flaming arrows raining down from the sky. He jerks the wheel and his expensive car goes barreling down a ravine and catches fire. He wakes up in the hospital, his body covered in very serious burns. This is especially bad because our narrator is a porn star, and the bottle of liquor has accelerated the car fire around his..."primary money maker" shall we say...and it has been burned beyond recognition and use.
How is that for a great start for a book ?! A self destructive porn star with no willy.Classic.
He wakes up in the hospital in bad shape, and he quickly begins to plan his suicide. However he begins to get a visitor named Marianne Engel. She sits with him and tells him about her work as a sculptress and her life story. Our narrator is pretty sure she is certifiably insane because she tries to convince him that they were lovers...in medieval Germany. He doesn't believe her but he listens to her stories because all of his former friends have abandoned him and ran off with his money; and he has nothing better to do since he will be in the hospital for a long time. She tells him stories of convents, illuminated manuscripts, sadistic knights, building cathedrals, being on the run and about their own love story.
Their relationship grows and changes and the narrator slowly, slowly heals (and becomes addicted to morphine!) but abandons his plan for suicide. He comes to live in her home with her and her doggie, Bougasta (which is a kind of dessert that his fur matches) and begins to piece together his broken spirit and life.
|Food bougasta, not dog Bougasta.|
The two timelines (Marianne's memories and the current timeline) are woven together throughout the novel so deftly that you wouldn't believe that this is Davidson's first (and so far only) book. I loved this book. I loved this book so much I forced my Mom and my one sister who reads to read it to so I'd have someone to gush about it with. I love that these people (not just our narrator) have had some terrible experiences which leave them a little broken and sad but that there is always hope. Always there is hope.
4.5 out of 5 stars for Mr Davidson and his broken but hopeful people!
(Picture from http://www.allcorfu.com/in-recipes-bougatsa.html in case you want the recipe!)