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“The Gargoyle Hunters” to be released in paperback

March 1, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Author John Freeman Gill. Photo by Derek Shapton, courtesy of Penguin Random House

Iconic stone gargoyles can be found sprinkled all over New York City’s architecture. In his novel “The Gargoyle Hunters,” Prospect Heights resident John Freeman Gill breathes new life into these awe-inspiring sculptures. The novel, which was released in hardback in March of last year, will be available in paperback on March 6.

“Gargoyle Hunters” follows thirteen-year-old Griffin Watts, who stumbles headlong into his estranged father’s illicit architectural salvage business in 1970s Manhattan, while both his family and his city are crumbling. Small and nimble, Griffin is sent clambering up the ornamented façades of nineteenth-century tenements and skyscrapers to steal their exuberant architectural sculptures—gargoyles and sea monsters, goddesses and kings. As his father sees it, these evocative creatures, crafted by immigrant artisans, are an endangered species in an age of sweeping urban renewal.

Desperate for money to help his artist mother keep their home, and yearning to connect with his father, Griffin is slow to recognize that his father’s deepening obsession with preserving the architectural treasures of Gilded Age New York endangers them all. As he struggles to hold his family together, Griffin must build himself into the man he wants to become, and discern which parts of his life may be salvaged—and which parts must be let go.

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Hilarious and poignant, this critically acclaimed debut is both a vivid love letter to a vanishing city and an intimate portrait of father and son. The Gargoyle Hunters brings a remarkable new voice to the canon of New York fiction.

John Freeman Gill is a native New Yorker and longtime New York Times contributor whose work has been anthologized in The New York Times Book of New York and More New York Stories: The Best of the City Section of The New York Times. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, and elsewhere. A summa cum laude graduate of Yale University, where he won two prizes and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, he received an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. He lives in New York City with his wife, three children, and a smattering of gargoyles.


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