The book is surreal and quirky. People that have never had the outsider experience may not appreciate the humor or reflections.
This story had a great premise and the cast of characters was interesting. Still it lacked something. Just an okay read.
The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break begins with a brief introduction by Neil Gaiman who selected and produced the novel as an audiobook. There is a sort of unwritten guarantee accompanying anything from Neil that there will be great attention to detail and quality. There is no question that the writing and narration are superb. They both flow beautifully. Yet, somehow Neil almost seems shy as he introduces the book, perhaps like it is something being offered from one friend to another with some uncertainty about how it will be received. And as I listened, my emotional response varied.
Overall, Steven Sherrill wrote a story with tremendous tenderness. There is the Minotaur, broken from a very long lifetime of troubles that he cannot even remember, but that have affected him deeply. As he works daily to fill his existence with meaning, he mostly does okay, but his mistakes stand out keenly in his mind. He experiences cruelty, and misunderstanding often, but also mercy. He has a desire for faith, but not a lot of hope after millennia of disappointment. However, there is still enough in him that he is capable of trust and of seeing good. These elements create a sort of sympathetic and gentle tone.
This book addresses themes of loneliness and the connections that humans make through sexuality. Those connections range from the herd mentality of groups of boys teasing someone, to the connections made through relationships and the varying degrees of intimacy present in them. While there is a lot of tenderness, there are clearly disturbing aspects of sexuality, some of which are addressed in this book. I felt assaulted by the descriptions of pornography, though I am not sure if that was the authors intent, or simply my reaction. There were also some other passages that disturbed me mildly, but that I became okay with as I saw how they fit into the story and the themes of the book.
By the end, I was more impressed than disturbed and I do recommend this book, but not to my parents, and not to teenagers.
Sherrill's original retelling (I know it's a contradiction, but that's what he does) of the myth is essential reading. It touches on how to be human and humane through the eyes of a beast. Or is he? He subjects human society to a deeply critical, bewildered scrutiny. There are touching moments of love, and one of the most terrifying accounts of watching late-night tv. Brilliant!
I have never taken the time to write a review before, but I enjoyed this story so much I felt compelled to spread the word. A compelling and entertaining story perfectly performed. I kept finding excuses to get in the car to hear more.
Well... In my humble opinion this isn't a story. I mean it's a situation, but not a story. What really happens? Sure there are events, but what is the central conflict that M must overcome? Isn't that the first part in the definition of a story. There must be conflict. The only conflict I see here is a mythical creature living in the American South trying to keep his job and get a girl. No event sends things into motion. It's just a series of everyday things that sometimes embarasses M and sometimes makes him happy. In the end, he is miserable...just like he was in the beginning.
I'm okay with a literary novel that is slow through out, but the novel has to go somewhere. This thing doesn't in my opinion. And in general, I got bored several times. (mostly during the tons of introspection that occurs in between actual events)
The fact that he crafted such a detailed character...and went nowhere whith him...
He was a natural fit for the voice of this particular minotaur.
It was well written. The guy (an English professor at Penn State, I believe, but don't quote me on that) obviously understands prose and how to construct beautiful sentences. And he obviously understands characterization. I understood M better than I ever wanted to by the end!
I just want to state that I know there are people who love htis book. I can even understand it from a purely technical perspective. It is well written. It just doesn't tell a story. A story resolves something in the end (usually the conflict mentioned above). This "story" doesn't go anywhere in my opinion, and as clever of a situation as putting a minotaur in current society is...and as clever as the athor is at using a mythological creature to point out short-comings in today's society, you need to give M something to do...something to solve before I will enjoy it.
Again, this is all my humble opinion and take it for what it is worth. If you disagree and enjoy the book, then I am happy for you!
The title of this book enticed me, and it was listed as a book recommended by Neil Gaiman, (one of my favorite authors), so I decided to give it a listen. It is an excellent book that I highly recommend. It is funny, and sad, and very refreshing all at the same time. Holter Graham does an excellent job reading the story. Get this book. It should be in everyone's library.
Reading the summary and seeing it recommended by Neil Gaiman, I downloaded _The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break_ expecting either an epic romp through mythological characters in the modern world (?? la Gaiman's _American Gods_) or something rolling on the floor funny. It is neither of those, but it is the best audiobook I've gotten in a while. Sherrill's writing is wonderfully poetic, and Graham's performance is perfect. By the end of the first chapter, I loved the Sherrill's Minotaur. He's like a Fauvist painting of the insecurities we've all known (especially in the first half of the book). Later, when he does foolish things (with good intent), I felt sick to my stomach to see it. I was surprised by how fond I'd grown of the character.
In short, for you Neil Gaiman fans: don't expect _American Gods_. Don't expect _Good Omens_. It's nothing like either of those. But do expect a really excellent book. This one is worth your time.
The story and the reader were so good, that I found myself interested in the most mundane details of life when seen from the Monotaur's perspective.
It's pretty unique--can't compare it.
No one scene--the entire book was good.
Life from the perspective of a Minotaur.
It's weird and really entertaining. No monsters. No supernatural.
Maybe to a few friends. The reader Holter Graham is excellent, but the story just never seems to go anywhere. I kept listening hoping for some twist or turn to take things in a new or surprising direction but it never happens.
The Minotaur character doesn't really change, there was a real opportunity to take him in an unexpected direction or to have him grow.
He really brings the characters to life and gives them depth.
Overall this book was a let down, there was an opportunity to do something different. Because of this it ultimately disappoints the listener. As a warning to potential listeners there is some strong language, strong sexual language, sex situations so this isn't for young listeners or those easily offended.