The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break: 07/07/17
The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill is a novel I found as I was tracking down the tangental thought of crossing the corn field being akin to the Minotaur's labyrinth.
My train of thought went like this:
Steven Sherrill takes that same idea and turns it on its head. What if the Minotaur (or M to his friends) has long since left the safety of his labyrinth to wander the Earth — only to find it as confusing and scary as his victims once found the labyrinth? M is a fry cook in a steakhouse attached to a now abandoned hotel. He lives in a mobile home in a horseshoe shaped park.
The Minotaur, though he has lived for centuries and has traveled the globe, has settled in the sort of places the typical road narrative protagonist is trying to escape. He has chosen to live his life in these out of the way places, in bursts of waiting. "The Minotaur is a nomad in the largest sense of the word. He finds it necessary, given the transient nature of everything around him, to relocated on occasion. He does not move with the seasons. Nor does he follow herds or rivers or constellations. His moves are with the centuries, more or less." (p. 15)
Like any traveler, even a reluctant one, the road has changed the Minotaur. It has tamed him. It has taught him to think about his every decision, slowly and deliberately. Every decision to him is like another turn in the labyrinth. Though he is technically free, he lives in a mental labyrinth — unable to escape, and a potential monster to anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves "trapped" with him.
In this regard, M is a reluctant scarecrow — like Hawthorne's Feathertop — remembering that the scarecrow in these scenarios often act as the gatekeeper or warden of the cornfield, or in this case, the labyrinth. Sometimes though, these guardians grow weary of their destined roles and leave. That is what has happened to M.
There is a sequel, The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time (2016) which I hope to read soon.