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

by Steven Sherrill

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5632617,691 (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 26 (next | show all)
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 |
This melancholic novel hit the spot for me. I was happy to accept that the Minotaur was living in the Lucky-U Trailer Park in North Carolina, I found the narrative kept me reading and I found the Steven Sherrill's descriptions very vivid. In particular this was a vivid novel full of pictures: I was there in the hot sun, I could picture the Minotaur in his kitchen whites and in particular the Lucky-U Trailer Park was well drawn and I was there with the inhabitants of the different trailers. Stephen Sherrill knows his catering skills and gives plenty of detail about the kitchen tasks of a chef, this detail added to the vividness of the novel. The loneliness of the Minotaur is central to the novel and I felt it without feeling that it was laid on clumsily. His social skills are limited and this leads to numerous excruciating incidence. In contrast to the sad times are the times when he is tinkering with a car or cooking and he is content. I am in danger of using vivid too much in this review but there are a number of scenes that are expressive and striking: in the car in the scrap yard when the pigs rampage, the sex scene, collecting the Corn Dog trailer and many others are still with me. I loved this novel: for me it had a tone that was engaging and interesting, with myth rubbing shoulders with characters from the present day. Most of the people in the novel are other staff working at the restaurant, the owner, the owner of the trailer park and neighbours. Some of these were good people, some bad: generally the good people accepted the Minotaur non-judgementally, the bad people made fun of him and so this becomes a moral tale. ( )
1 vote Tifi | Dec 18, 2014 |
The Minotaur, long the feared antagonist of Greek Legend, has moved on in life. Though he is mostly forgot by humans, he lives on, and he finds work where he can. On this particular cigarette break, Steven Sherrill finds the Minotaur, known to his friends and acquaintances as M, sitting outside Grub's Restaurant where he is working as a short-order cook and is doing alright for himself.

The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break is a slice-of-life work, sharing with us some two weeks of the Minotaur's life, just as things seem idyllic and then get turned on their head. The Minotaur hasn't been this low or this happy in a long time, and it's a sight to behold when Steven Sherrill lets us in on such a private life. The magic here is perfectly wrought, just when we think the Minotaur is the only being of his kind, there are hints at something more, things beyond what he knows or remembers, which fill out the world he lives in, making it as real as anything else.

It might surprise the reader to know that the Minotaur's tale is not cynical or ever sardonic, in fact, I'm not even sure the Minotaur knows how to be sarcastic. His tale is, ultimately one of hope. And if you get the feeling that you love yourself more after reading the Minotaur's Cigarette Break then that was the bonus side-effect of a charming novel. Steven Sherrill isn't a preacher or voyeur, he's a memoir-writer for fictional lives.

This Audiobook was a production of Neil Gaiman Presents, and as such Neil gives the introduction. He speaks briefly of his love for this novel, going further in depth about the book's narrator: Holter Graham. In researching, just a little, about this book, about the author and the narrator, I've found that many people like Holter Graham and I understand perfectly why. He's brave and uncanny, sliding from the Minotaur's epic and chaotic dreams to his narrow view of daily-life with ease and grace. He grunts for the Minotaur as though he himself had to communicate with little more than a few noises, and a single clobbered word at a time. He speaks all the Southern accents without mockery or pretense. I like Holter Graham very much, and would listen to another audiobook done by him. Indeed the quality of the production recommends to me more of the audiobooks in Neil Gaiman Presents.

I must say though, that without Steven Sherrill's poetic interludes and smooth prose, I'm sure something would have been lacking. There is an adventures quality to this tale, though it remains mostly linear, and the Minotaur doesn't really travel to any significant locations, it feels like an epic. For the Minotaur is changed, possibly more so than he has in millennia, and it's really touching to be a part of it. There's not much more to say about this book, but I hope you'll read it, I really do think any reader will enjoy it. For there is nothing exploitative, nothing extraneous, and even the graphic and possibly awkward sex scenes read well. For the fan of Greek Literature and the Magical Realism fan alike, as well as those who stick to gritty thrillers and true-crime, will enjoy this.

If you already have read it and have a comment, especially if you disagree with me, leave a comment! Otherwise, check it out from the library--I look forward to your thoughts.

256pp. John F. Blair. 1 May 2000.
(9h 4m. Neil Gaiman Presents. 25 Oct. 2011.)
1 vote knotbox | Dec 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (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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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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