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The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break Paperback – 28 Apr 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; export and airside ed edition (28 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841953997
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841953991
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,527,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A wry, melancholy, beautiful first novel." (Guardian)

"This is the most surreal slab of realism you will read all year. Unique and rather wonderful." (Arena)

"Sherrill is a beautiful writer . . . he finds the drama to keep you reading, your heart in your mouth, to the conclusion's defiant roar of hope." (Daily Telegraph)

"Exceptional . . .Steven Sherrill uses M as the vehicle for a finely observed and compassionate portrayal of humanity in all its guises." (Irish Independent)

"Sherrill's narrative, with its dreamlike pace, shows myth coexisting with reality as naturally as it does in ancient epic." (Publisher's Weekly) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This off-the-wall, extraordinary book will encourage the reader to think laterally and suspend belief.
Five thousand years on from the myth, the Minotaur - now known as M to his colleagues - is alive and well and living in America. He has a job as a chef in a busy, fairly up-market restaurant in North Carolina, lives in a caravan park, has learnt the art of motor mechanics, acquired excellent cooking skills and watches as the world goes by.
Nothing seems to disturb the humdrum, day-to-day existence of M as, on a daily basis, he works, takes a bath, combs the bovine parts of his body, carefully treats the line where his body becomes man, manicures and polishes his horns, repairs his clothes, cleans his shoes, keeps his old car going, and makes interminable lists of things to do. The Minotaur has become a creature of habit - predictable and unsurprising.
However, we gradually realise that, even though most of M's emotions are suppressed - for example, he does not allow himself to feel guilty about those he killed and devoured in ancient times - he is very capable of liking, even loving. This latter is developed carefully, with surprises and setbacks, as Sherrill sensitively and sympathetically develops a heart-rending portrayal of loneliness in all its forms. Being different makes M an outsider - his horns get in the way from time to time, he likes to eat raw onions, he is socially gauche - yet he yearns to be accepted.
M does not necessarily like all that he sees or enjoy all that he does but recognises that the world will continue to turn so he may as well get on with life.
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Format: Paperback
Think Edward Scissorhands reimagined by Ted Hughes and you're part way there.
The writing here is lyrical but not overdone. There's a beautiful balance struck between pathos and world weariness. The minotaur cuts a tremendously sympathetic figure, carving steaks and fixing engines as he observes the people around him bustling and chatting. He yearns to be included, but his inarticulacy and overwhelming shyness keep him on the sidelines.
When a pretty young waitress joins the bar grill where he works, he struggles to act upon the very human feelings stirred in his ancient heart.
This is an absorbing read and I recommend it very, very strongly.
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Format: Paperback
From the very beginning you begin to wonder exactly how the Minotaur (named M in the story) can possibly exist with Human beings. After being in the Labyrinth for five thousand years, the Minotaur finds himself working at Grub's Steakhouse. The book is full of characters that come to life. The Minotaur finds conflict within himself due to his half man, half animal instinct. What got me hooked on the story was the fact that the author (Steven Sherrill) displays loneliness and the need of human interactivity very well. The story also shows how Love is a very important part of humanity, yet the Minotaur only hopes to find it one day. The hope that someone will see passed his difference and love him for who he is. A dream we all wish and hope for throughout life. I couldn't help but relate to this story! That's why I gave it such a high rating. I couldn't put it down, once I read the first chapter, I wanted to go on wondering what happened next. If we were to have a Minotaur among us now, people would react the way they did in the story. Everyone has a Minotaur within them, we all want to be accepted and loved for who we are.
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Format: Paperback
By the end of the first chapter I was fascinated by M. Fatigued by immortality and aching for human contact, he is flawed and romantic. This is a book for anyone who has ever felt alone.
The style is sparse andelegant. Not a word is wasted and I enjoyed ever single one of them.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't know America well enough to work out exactly where this story was set, an 8 or 9 hour drive from Florida. Once you've got your head around the fact that the main character is represented as an minotaur, and he seems to be accepted within his small work/social community, then you're in for a real treat. The characters stay true to themselves, but are allowed to develop as the story unfolds. The author isn't afraid to allow good things to happen, as well as bad, and this enables the plot to move and unfold like origami. Some scenes truly hilarious, many others deeply moving. The author has treated not only his characters with respect, but also his readers, offering us glimpses into another world where we are allowed to make our own assumptions, see them as incorrect, and then reassess the character with the new information. As all good fiction does, I was transported into another world. This made an excellent book club read, lots to discuss and even the members who struggle with fantasy were able to enjoy the book. I don't know how to categorise this novel - Fantasy? No. Humour? No. Social Commentary? Maybe. It had all these elements and so much more. At the start of the book I did decide to dip into wikipaedia and have a quick look (2 mins max) at the story of Theseus and Minotaur, which allowed me great fun at spotting how the characters translated into this book. Thanks to author for his wonderful imagination. Will there be a follow up?
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