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The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Breakby Steven Sherrill
The Minotaur, M, a fantastical and once fearsome beast from Greek mythology, is now reduced to a mundane existence in the gritty South. Yet even M, the most displaced of creatures, finds himself chancing at hope for happiness of a crude sort. Author Steven Sherrill offers a raw and redeeming take on finding one's place in the world in this excellent debut novel.
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Direct, forceful, wryly understated....The Minotaur's story is our story, of our endless quest to find someone who understands..." The News & Observer
"Billiant imagination...Every page is a delight worth savoring for a millenium or two." USA Today
"The Minotaur, the half-man, half-bull supposedly slain by Theseus in the labyrinth, is actually working as a cook at Grub's Rib in a small town in North Carolina. Or so Sherrill conjectures in his clever debut novel, which thrusts the fabulous beast into the kitchen sink realism of 1990s America....Sherrill's narrative, with its dreamlike pace, shows myth coexisting with reality as naturally as it does in ancient epic." Publishers Weekly
In this debut novel, Sherrill follows the mythical Minotaur through two weeks of his life as a cook at a steakhouse in the contemporary American South. Through the creature's experiences, the author spotlights the alienation and loneliness that are part of society.
About the Author
Steven Sherrill is a graduate of UNC-Charlotte and holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writer's Workshop. He was the recipient of a Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Fellowship to the MacDowell Colony. His poems and stories have appeared in Best American Poetry, The Kenyon Review, ACM: Another Chicago Magazine, Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, and others. He lives in Highland Park, Illinois.
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