In Sherrill's follow-up to The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break (2000), a creature from Greek mythology interacts with a group of eccentric characters in central Pennsylvania.
The clash between monstrous figures from antiquity and the quirks and foibles of the modern world are the stuff from which a host of plots can be mined, from the horrific to the elegiac. As the title of this novel indicates, Sherrill's tone is more matter-of-fact. Here, the Minotaur finds himself adrift in Pennsylvania, taking part in Civil War re-enactments, pondering his half-human, half-bull nature, and conversing with the residents and owners of the motel where he lives. “Converses” might be pushing it: the Minotaur is a protagonist of few words, bull’s head and all, and there’s a memorable disparity between his philosophical musings on everyday life and immortality and the brief and sometimes-nonverbal utterances that he makes throughout the book. There are plenty of quietly mundane and grotesque details: one character blowing his nose without the use of a tissue, for instance. Sherrill notes at one point that “the bull-man was conceived in and born out of the god-awful,” and that sense of an undercurrent of unpleasantness manifests itself most when he befriends a pair of troubled siblings. Slowly, the simulated violence in which he periodically engages gives way to the threat of something more chaotic. The pacing here is relatively languorous and borders on the episodic, but the book's quirks largely add up to an affecting and unpredictable whole.
While its pacing can be an acquired taste, this novel’s juxtaposition of magical realism and the mundane allows for a number of haunting and contemplative moments.