Sadness, lonliness, isolation
No I have not
This was a very good book, although the thing that really stays with you after both during and after finishing the book is the unrelenting sense of loneliness and sadness that the author imbues in the Minotaur. At times I found the book difficult to listen to because of this. The author did an amazing job of making the Minotaur feel like a real character that exists in the real world. He does such a good job at this that you sometimes forget that he is a mythical creature. This in and of itself can actually feel like a detriment, as the book loses some of the 'magic' that comes from writing about mythical creates.
Ultimately, I think that this is definitely worth listening to, but just remember that it is not about mythology, it is about the lonliness, sadness and isolation that comes from being different from everyone around you.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to listen to this but ultimately I couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end. The story is "simple" yet so complex, the Minotaur is quite a character (in all senses of the word). Many books create situations (crisis) and the reader can typically figure out what will happen next, this is not one of those books. This isn't to say the results are outlandish or so far fetched one would never have imagined the outcome, it is a testament to the creativity of the author. I will definitely be be reading other books from the "Neil Gaiman Presents" series and if they are are as intriguing as this one it will be a wonderful journey. If your contemplating picking this up, do yourself a favor and go for it.
People who have nothing to do and don't really need a plot might like this story. The title of the book sounded like it should be funny, but it fell well short of that also.
what genre? tasteless, mindless novels, yes, it has turned me way off of them.
Holter Graham did do a good performance with the material he had to work with.
The fleeting discussion on the previous life
I do not think you can categorize this book
as any specific genre - would i hesitate from this author? yes
perfect orgasmic real
yes only because neil recommended it
neil owes me one
Say something about yourself!
The book is surreal and quirky. People that have never had the outsider experience may not appreciate the humor or reflections.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
The one and only Minotaur is in North Carolina working as a cook in a popular restaurant called Grub's Rib. He cannot deny the "cannibalistic nature of his job," roasting and carving beef ribs: from the shoulders up he is a bull, complete with tough black skin, huge nose, giant tongue, full lips, and sharp horns. In his thousands of years of life--he is tepidly immortal--the Minotaur has been almost everywhere and seen almost everything, and his power, spirit, wildness, and, yes, malevolence, have been eroded by time and experience ("high, the costs of living"). Today his only ambition is to order his life around errands and work, keep a low profile, and belong, however tenuously, to the "team" of workers at Grub's Rib and to the community of tenants at Lucky U Mobile Estates, where he lives rent-free in return for fixing the used cars the owner sells there. No charismatic, bestial force of evil, the Minotaur is slow to anger and prone to worry, and is at core a voyeur who witnesses rather than influences events. He is not wholly useful in an emergency.
Steven Sherrill's The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break (2000), then, is a slice of life from the Minotaur's millennia. He has a crush on an epileptic waitress; he must tolerate a pair of obnoxious young waiters; he is assigned a more public role at Grub's Rib; and although he deftly handles knives, tools, and the like and is a proficient and experienced cook, when distracted he is prone to accidents involving sharp instruments, hot oil, and unwieldy horns. The Minotaur senses a change coming, the kind that has in the past forced him to leave familiar places and roles to live and wander nomadically until he could find new ones.
The Minotaur is a compelling character. As the quintessential outsider, he is able to view humanity objectively and freshly without ever quite being able to fit in. His otherness is increased by his inarticulateness: words fall "mutilated" from his mouth, and he communicates mostly via grunts ("Unnnnnh"), letting the context convey his meaning. His status as Other means that people use him as a sounding board or a confessional with which to express their plans, problems, and experiences, led to believe by the Minotaur's grunts that he's listening carefully and agreeing or disagreeing according to their needs. There are times when his linguistic limitations are unfortunate. There are times when his lack of common sense is boggling.
One of the interesting features of Sherrill's novel is the way in which, after initial shock, disgust, or fear, people generally suffer the Minotaur as if he is "cloaked in a tenuous veil of complicated anonymity." Luckily, the important people in his life, like his boss, his landlord, and his fellow cooks are kind-hearted. Luckily, unlike what happens in The Man Who Fell to Earth, here no scientists try to imprison and study the Minotaur, who is, after all, indigenous to earth. Indeed, the Minotaur was created by the human psyche, he is at least half human, much of what he thinks or does or experiences "would be true even if he didn't have horns," and his blood "carries with it through his monster's veins the weighty, necessary, terrible stuff of human existence: fear, wonder, hope, wickedness, love." Sherrill, then, uses the Minotaur to imaginatively explore what it might feel like to be an immortal monster living a mundane life among mortal humans, thereby expressing what it might feel like to be any unusual human longing to fit in ("Even the monstrous among us need love").
Sherill's style is rich, literate, and varied. He writes occasional poetic chapters to depict the Minotaur's memories and dreams:
"For the meadow near Cnossus, where the hyacinth petals
turn and turn out like so many palms refusing applause.
Think of me, Pasiphae, in your moment of cramped ecstasy."
He writes the vivid minutiae of life, as, for instance when he depicts some wasps in the glove compartment of an old car in a junkyard: "Whether the dozen or so wasps clinging to the nest, wings tucked like hard coats over their pinstriped articulated bodies, somber as pall bearers, but for the nervous antennae, whether they protect this treasure or are oblivious of it, is hard to tell."
He writes pitch-perfect dialogue: "You ever stick anybody with one of them horns?"
He writes lots of humor, dry ("It was an unsettling show, but he had seen worse"), bawdy (putt-putt golf accompanied by the sound from the speakers of an adult drive-in theater), cultural ("The GI Joe doll, singed and shell shocked"), or philosophical ("The crow's shadow mimics its master"). He is especially good with boys, so creative, destructive, sweet, malicious, stupid, and entertaining.
The reader Holter Graham is perfect. His Minotaur grunt is great ("Unnnnh") and his white, black, and Hispanic male and female North Carolinian kids, teens, and adults all sound convincing and human. Graham makes nary a misstep--even when voicing porn actors in action.
The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break is a quirky book. I'm not sure what it resembles. It is surely no heroic fantasy adventure or horror story! Neither does it feel like an urban fantasy of the Charles de Lint variety, because Sherrill uses the fantastic to show how human nature, relationships, and life are wonderful, terrible, bleak, and hopeful rather than to show how magic is just around the corner. Perhaps it most resembles Edward Scissorshands. If you don't expect a page-turning story featuring a quick-thinking, take-charge, "normal" hero, Sherrill's novel might make you chuckle, cringe, and sigh.
Sorry, I just couldn't finish it. Got over 1/2 way but nothing was holding my interest. Good study for a short story but for a novel? The protagonist has to do something other than be a perpetual sad sack. I hope Sherrill finds a good audience, it's not me.
My pic says it all. That's my dog and he is really barking for me to throw another snowball. Scary looks but really just a playful guy by nature. Been reading sf/fantasy like a power nerd my whole life which is almost 50 years now. I like all sorts of stuff just make the story believable...
I can see why Neil Gaiman likes this guy. He can create a sceen and make it come to life with a creative resonance that is facinating to listen to. Just awesome. However, the reason I only gave it three starts is that nothing really happens in the story and this incredible writing can only get it so far.
In fact, I stopped listening to it about 4/5 through the book, but I plan to get back too it later. One reason was that their is this sex sceen that was just a little too wierd and graphic. But man, can this guy write...amazing.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
If living 5000 years does this to your personality, then kill me at 80 please. THE Minotaur has lived 5000 years, yet he is inept and insecure in all things, except mechanical. Forget the title, he does not smoke. He does not drink, swim, talk or have fun. He is Anal.
The plot is, he works in a restaurant, lives in a trailer park, helps a guy move and that is it. I worked in a restaurant as a kid, you worked in a restaurant as a kid, 95% of the people who read this have worked in a restaurant. The descriptive, lengthy restaurant tripe might be interesting to rich academia types, but not the average reader. Even Koontz did not go to this length with his fry cook, Odd.
Through out the book he is consistently referred to as THE Minotaur. THE writer probably had some deep reason for not giving THE Minotaur a name. THE result for THE reader is that it is hard to empathize with THE Minotaur, since he as no name and in the English language we put THE in front of inanimate objects. His co-workers do call him M, he has no friends. Take THE Minotaur out of the book and you cut it in half. I wanted to give up on this book several times, but kept with it. Despite the lack of story, I did start to feel some empathy for the THE Minotaur toward the last part of the book. If my constant use of THE is irritating you then you do not want to listen to this book.
There are characters here from "My Name is Earl", but not well developed. The Minotaur is so un-minotaur like it is unbelievable. His hips and legs are as skinny as a girl. Even obese people have large legs and hips, from carry the load of there upper body. He has no balls. A bull with no balls. He is one sad bull and you will be sad if you expect too much from this.
I gave it three stars as the writer does show promise in his prose. He has an imagination, he just needs to think things through or maybe not think so much.
Yes. I believe this was his first book and found the story had some tedium. More experience might yield a more compelling story.
The Minotaur conveys significant emotion in each grunt and I'm not sure the written word would have carried that quite as well.
Sure, but I don't think this is a likely candidate for the hollywood treatment. It would need a more driving story.
I found my mind wandering aimlessly during this book due to the somewhat mundane and tedious story. I had high hopes for this book going in but would call it decidedly average overall.