Book Review: Suddenly the Minotaur

Acts of violence create new realities, both for the victim and the perpetrator. Suddenly the Minotaur by Montreal writer Marie Hélène Poitras presents two interpretations of the same violent act, by both sides of the equation. From his prison cell, serial rapist Mino Torrès recounts his attack on Ariane, one whom he viciously mauled but was unsuccessful in penetrating. She represents the one who got away, in his twisted mind, as he introspectively examines his motives, memories, and history. The second half of the novel belongs to Ariane, who is in Germany to build new memories amidst the lingering physical and mental trauma she experienced. Poitras’ language, by way of Claxton’s translation, is blunt and precise, making for a read that is at times as brutal as the attacks described therein. Suddenly the Minotaur is about survival, both physically and of the senses, as Ariane learns to trust both herself and others again. It is also a glimpse into a brutal psyche with a human perspective. Torres is not a one-dimensional character presented as a low-functioning brute. Reading Suddenly the Minotaur is an emotional experience fueled by artful language and memorable characters. (Paula E. Kirman)

by Marie Hélène Poitras, Translated by Patricia Claxton,, $16.95 186 pgs, DC Books, Box 666, St. Laurent Station, Montreal, PQ, H4L 4V9

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