The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, is a wonderfully original story full of imagination, sadness and humour. We are introduced to the Minotaur, who over the last five thousand years has gone through a steady humanisation transformation. Various aspects of his previous being still exist, like the bovine features and horns and it’s those quirks that keep him an outsider but also make him really enthralling. As an immortal, he has had to deal with repetitive exclusion, loneliness and loss.
M, as he’s now known, lives on the periphery of society and works as a chef in the kitchen of the Grub’s Rib restaurant. It is quite sad to dwell on his life and there is a yearning that he can gain some acceptance into society. M has a quiet, reclusive but smouldering character that you are just waiting to see if, and how, he would respond to threats and life’s trials. It is very easy to build empathy for him and when he starts to develop a friendship with a woman you become absorbed in his activities and personally encouraging him to take the steps forward. The dialogue is relevant and gutsy, it is sharp and honest, and a real delight to experience.
There is a harsh reality presented for those that live on the edge of society, those that are alienated because of race, colour, creed or appearance. An existence where you have to deal with not only the differences but the added contempt and antagonism from others. A glimmer of hope and affection can be so powerful especially when it is heartbreakingly tender and sincere. The narration in this book creates a vivid portrayal of such a life.
I would read this book over and over as it just makes you feel like you’re experiencing something that is unique, eccentric, scintillating and mysterious.