The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill
A Novel

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Synopsis

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 earth 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.

Among the characters peopling the Minotaur's world are Kelly, whose own debilitating flaw allows her affinity for the Minotaur; Sweeny, the rough-hewn but kindly proprietor of the mobile-home park; and Buddy, Sweeny's unforgettable, unlucky, randy bulldog.

The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break is an effortless blend of the mundane and the mythic, a unique world in which kitchen work becomes high drama and meetings between legendary creatures almost pass notice. But strangest of all in Steven Sherrill's debut novel, everything seems to make perfect sense.
 

About Steven Sherrill

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STEVEN SHERRILL is an Assistant Professor of English at Penn State, Altoona, earned an MFA in Poetry from Iowa Writers' Workshop and was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Fiction in 2002. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry, The Kenyon Review and The Georgia Review. He lives in Pennsylvania.
 
Published February 18, 2013 by John F. Blair, Publisher. 202 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break

Publishers Weekly

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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 cle

May 01 2000 | Read Full Review of The Minotaur Takes a Cigarett...

The Wall Street Journal

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on novels not about humans

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