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Steven Sherrill

Forfatter af The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break

6+ Værker 921 Medlemmer 39 Anmeldelser 2 Favorited

Om forfatteren

Steven Sherrill is an assistant professor of English at Penn State Altona.

Includes the name: Steven Sherrill


Værker af Steven Sherrill

The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break (2000) 763 eksemplarer
Visits from the Drowned Girl (2004) 114 eksemplarer
The Locktender's House (2008) 15 eksemplarer
Joy, Pa (Yellow Shoe Fiction) (2015) 5 eksemplarer

Associated Works

The Best American Poetry 1997 (1997) — Bidragyder — 167 eksemplarer
Noise: Fiction Inspired by Sonic Youth (2008) — Bidragyder — 37 eksemplarer

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Hmmm... the obvious assumption is that this book is about a minotaur.

Okay, well, it IS about a minotaur, but it's more about the dullness and meaninglessness of a life in poverty and the normalization and internalization of mockery.

The minotaur hates himself as much as the haters hate him. But he only hates himself because he has been shaped to.

His actions and decisions are exactly human. There is nothing he does in this story that any person after a lifetime of mockery might do...

Not sure about the reviews referring to a lack of closure - this book closes. Is it happy ever after? Did the Minotaur get kissed by the princess and turn back from a frog to a handsome prince... no... but life doesn't offer that...
… (mere)
crazybatcow | 32 andre anmeldelser | Nov 2, 2023 |
“The architecture of the Minotaur’s heart is ancient. Rough hewn and many chambered, his heart is a plodding laborious thing, built for churning through the millennia. But the blood it pumps—the blood it has pumped for five thousand years, the blood it will pump for the rest of his life—is nearly human blood. It carries with it, through his monster’s veins, the weighty, necessary, terrible stuff of human existence: fear, wonder, hope, wickedness, love. But in the Minotaur’s world it is far easier to kill and devour seven virgins year after year, their rattling bones rising at his feet like a sea of cracked ice, than to accept tenderness and return it.”

Five thousand years on from apparently being killed by Theseus the Minotaur or M as he is known by his colleagues has escaped the labyrinth and is now working as a line chef in North Carolina. M leads an ordered lifestyle in a shabby trailer park, keeping to himself , keeping his horns down and simply trying to fit in in this new town.

Virtually all the characters in this book are regular, everyday, hard working, lower-middle-class human characters struggling to bring in a regular pay check, people are fired and new ones hired, some are cruel some are kind, some get injured at work, some move homes but all are simply trying to keep a roof over their heads and make a life for themselves. M is no different.

M is the proverbial elephant in the kitchen. He is the person people try to talk down to or ignore, the guy whom the bullies like to try and poke fun at and belittle. But despite his unfortunate deformity he pays his rent, fixes cars on the side and helps out his colleagues and neighbours. Whatever his past, he is now part of the great human herd trying to survive. He isn't going to die but he's got to make a living. M is a team player, who is good at what he does but different nonetheless.

Home is little better, an under-furnished trailer shaped like a boat. Most of the time, it is all the Minotaur can do to meet the day-to-day responsibilities of his own small world. Though a hybrid, M feels with the emotions of a man. He has needs and longings but his deformity makes them almost impossible to meet. He suffers in near silence, unable to escape and compelled to live on. His bargain with Theseus was no bargain. He endures and we are sad for him.

'The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break' is well written. The first half of the book is rather slow, mundane and nothing really happens but the second half kicks into gear; we know that M's life is about to change but whether or not its going to be for the better is kept under wraps. There are some funny scenes and there some sad scenes, it speaks of a world that seems unchanging from the outside but as human beings we know that that is never really the case. Sherrill doesn't try to give the reader any glib answers or pass judgments but gives us a new way to think about what it means to live within visible limitations. M has neither freedom nor hell but a limbo that stretches in time without end.

This book ia about what it means to be human and the use of a Minotaur in this way is an interesting device and really wasn't what I was initially expecting. If you want a fast paced plot then this really isn't for you but if you prefer your action slower and more considered then it's worth giving this novel a go.
… (mere)
PilgrimJess | 32 andre anmeldelser | Oct 22, 2023 |
There were sixteen years between the publication of the first book, The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Book, and this book, The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time. It was a fittingly long interval of time between my own reading of the first one and this one, and I had rather forgotten about the world of M. Reading it this time, you really get the impression first of all that the author went to Iowa—he has a very florid style, a very modern sense of removal, isolation, sexuality, the restriction of communication—but it’s charming, in its way. I found the ending a little disappointing; I wanted another graph or two of fallout, at least.
The theme, however, is one that I have been thinking about a lot. When I went home for thanksgiving, Rory seemed older, and slower, but her sweetness was still so vivid, maybe moreso than ever. Her loving eyes, her happy tail thumps, her patience increased with her years. Each moment seems like a treasure, to spend with her, to scratch her. She seems better at communicating what she wants, and it’s possible I’m looking harder for that too, and so the barrier is a little lower than it was when she was younger. There is an undeniable sweetness to the present moment, and that’s what this book captured, whatever else it did.
It also presented a fascination with the emotional power of music, any music, that was moving. It seems, from the art in the back flap (a civil-war-esque portrait of the minotaur seated, in uniform, a gun in his hand, some woman’s hand on his shoulder) and the bio, that this is a story he cannot let go, whether he is painting or making music or writing, and I’m glad I was able to read the second installment eventually.
… (mere)
et.carole | Dec 1, 2022 |
My sky-high expectations for this book have become obscured to me now; the things which attract me to this kind of reshaped myth, however, are always present and were fulfilled here. Sherrill delivers a mythical character in a world with grease and trash and breath, a clear environment which fits with the fictional South tradition. The dust cover review promises relatability in the character of the Minotaur, and this was fulfilled with a replacement of his classical emotion with a modern sterility. M cannot act in his moments of crisis. The narrator presents bloody and explosive routes he would have taken in his heyday, but he has come to a point of paralysis. He watches catastrophes with a sensation that I am familiar with in crowds, and next to industrial equipment. It is a knowledge that harm will happen too fast, from unimagined directions, a feeling that humanity should be hopeless in the face of what it has made. Even social disasters seem to wash over him, his own powers even of moving or talking obscured beyond the reach of his imagination. Any obligation for him to act even to protect those he loves is presented as an outdated moral standard, some useless old ideal in a technological modernity he can neither fully experience nor escape.
He has become a modern man: he understands and functions in a reality of going to work every day and needing a place to sleep, yet his existence is built around traditional values he never grew out of. The irritations and limits of his physical body are made comic and pathetic by his bull configuration, but we all itch too much, we can’t see where we want to, and who can get words to come out right? It’s not a remaking of a specific myth. It’s a new novel which takes worn characters and puts them right in our world where we can get a straight look at them.
… (mere)
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et.carole | 32 andre anmeldelser | Jan 21, 2022 |



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