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The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break by…
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The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break (original 2000; edition 2000)

by Steven Sherrill

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5672717,547 (3.6)26
Member:revslick
Title:The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break
Authors:Steven Sherrill
Info:John F Blair Pub (2000), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 313 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:2012 read

Work details

The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill (2000)

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» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
In The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, Steven Sherrill has created an intriguing, if uneven, character study. Sherrill's aim is to use the Minotaur - known as 'M' - as a vehicle for a study of humanity; his logic, as outlined on page 310, being that mankind creates monsters out of its own psychological needs. The problems, and the central conflict of the story, arise when the monster is humanized." If there is anything remarkable about this novel, it is that you truly forget, at times, that 'M' is actually a minotaur. The absurdity of the title is soon lost; as one review that I read put it, it is a surreal piece of realism. Sherrill's 'M' is indeed more man than bull; his conflicted physical nature serving as a nice manifestation of his feelings of isolation and social anxiety. The supporting characters are also all believably human - conflicted, irrational and yet hopeful. One certainly empathises with all of the emotions described throughout the novel, many of which may strike very close to home.

However, despite my respect for the novel and the emotions it evokes, I failed to truly bond with it. Despite being essentially a thought experiment on the nature of humanity, Sherrill does not seem to have any identifiable themes on the subject running consistently throughout the novel. He does not seem to want to provide any sort of lesson or moral for the reader, or really provide an opinion on any of the human emotions he describes. Rather, he just presents them to the reader largely without comment. This is not, to my mind, helped by the occasional over-elaboration when describing the minutiae of M's everyday life, which is almost uniformly dull. It is only the presence of a minotaur which stops this book being a very ordinary 'A day in the life of...' story. I liked the realistic characters and the strong emotions evoked by their experiences, but their character arcs are rather uneventful and I had lost interest in them within minutes of closing the book." ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
Sad, happy, and totally likeable character, a book for all to read. Well done! ( )
  judysh | May 7, 2016 |
I have had this novel on my to read list for about 15 years, so it was immensely satisfying to read and enjoy it. It is an epic prose poem about many things, from the difficulty of connecting with others to the travails of an immortal who feels pain and longs for love and acceptance. ( )
  nmele | Apr 15, 2016 |
Neat stuff. A Likable character who happens to be a pretty good mechanic. He carves roast beef very well too. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
This book was strange, sad, and in every way unsuitable for children. I was expecting humor, but I didn't find any of it. I was expecting excitement, but there wasn't much of that either. This is a book about awkwardness. It is a book about not fitting in, and trying to get by in a world that won't accommodate disability.

Is it a good book? It wasn't a good book for me. ( )
  wishanem | Jan 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Wise and ingenious as this novel is, its likability lies above all in its no-nonsense modesty, its distrust of showy gestures, the trudging optimism with which it evokes even the darker corners of humanity. We may think we have long given up our classical monsters for those made of flesh and blood, but the Minotaur gently reminds us that they very necessarily walk among us.
 
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Voor Maude,

die me dagelijks leert

wat belangrijk is in het leven
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The minotaur sits on an empty pickle bucket blowing smoke through bullish nostrils.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312308922, Paperback)

Five thousand years out of the Labyrinth, the Minotaur finds himself in the American South, living in a trailer park and working as a line cook at a steakhouse. No longer a devourer of human flesh, the Minotaur is a socially inept, lonely creature with very human needs. But over a two-week period, as his life dissolves into chaos, this broken and alienated immortal awakens to the possibility for happiness and to the capacity for love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Five thousand years out of the Labyrinth that held him captive, and as many years beyond the dubious bargain that set him free, the Minotaur finds himself struggling to negotiate the American South with the body of a man and the head of a bull." "The Minotaur tries to balance the past, the present, and a looming future from behind the cooks' line at Grub's Rib, where his coworkers know both his skill with a chef's knife and the sometimes dangerous nature of his horns. At Lucky-U Mobile Estates, the Minotaur lives in a boat-shaped trailer and shares with his neighbors an appreciation for a quiet lifestyle and a respect for auto repairs.". "Over the duration of his life, the Minotaur has roamed the world and seen much, yet he has reaped little wisdom to help him navigate the complex geography of human relationships. Inarticulate, socially inept, tolerated at best by modern folk, he has been reduced from a monster with an appetite for human flesh to a broken creature with very human needs." "During the two weeks covered by the novel, the delicate balance tips, and the Minotaur finds his life dissolving into chaos while he simultaneously awakens to the possibility of love."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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