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Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Condition: As new condition., Clean - No marks of any kind. / Binding: Paperback / Publisher: Europa Editions / Pub. Date: 2005-10 Attributes: Book / Stock#: Z992175067 () * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Minotaur Paperback – October 1, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A major Cold War hit in the U.K. (a blurb from Graham Greene!), this 1981 novel gets much of its bite from the reputation of the Israeli spy network, of which its protagonist is a major, covert player. A melancholic 41, he's married and on a mission in London when, on a bus, he sees a girl of 17 or so with a ribbon tied just so in her hair. When she turns in profile and he sees her features, he is instantly smitten. Using his expertise, he gets Thea's name and address, and begins writing to her and gives her a way of getting letters to him. They correspond for seven years, both revealing extremely high levels of cultivation, until her engagement to a man her age, G.R., threatens the relationship. The protagonist deals with him, or so it seems, accordingly. Her next lover, a few years later, meets a similar fate. As it comes time for our man to finally reveal himself to Thea, his job may prove a final impediment. After the denouement, his identity is traced in flashbacks that recapitulate the history of Israel and a particular sort of early immigrant's experience there. Tammuz has real insight into obsessive, star-crossed love, but the prose throughout is stiff and dated. This suspenseful love story really requires pre-Oslo Israeli and bipolar geopolitics as its background noise. (Oct.)
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“A novel about the expectations and compromises that humans create for themselves . . . Very much in the manner of William Faulkner and Lawrence Durrell.” —The New York Times

"With echoes of Kafka and Conrad, Israeli novelist Tammuz has fashioned a provocative, spare, slow-to-unfold mystery of character." — Kirkus Review

“If the doomed atmosphere that hovers over the romances in Greene and Le Carré is present in Minotaur, so is a flavor that can only be described as more continental, and prose more sensuous than fits into the schemes of those two writers.” —Boston Phoenix --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; First Edition edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933372028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933372020
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,431,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought this book yesterday from the mystery table at a local independent bookstore. I have not been able to put it down since. It's beautifully written, and so much more than a mystery. A secret agent, on his 41st birthday, sees his dream girl on a bus. He knows they can't be together, but he begins to write her letters. "A little-known masterpiece" say the blurbs. Believe!

I haven't even finished it, but I couldn't wait to recommend it. More later...

This book still haunts me. I loaned it to a friend who said she didn't know why it wasn't taught in college. It's that beautiful, both structurally and thematically. I got excited and bought the DVD of the movie based on Minataur but can't bring myself to watch it, for fear of breaking the spell of the novel. And I can't bring myself to write a more detailed review for the same reason. Maybe it's just as well that it isn't taught in college. (To the best of my knowledge.)
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Format: Paperback
This book starts a little slow but is definitely worth summoning the patience. It is written in a somewhat unconventional fashion. A handfull of characthers are first introduced then each chapter tells that charachter's story. The plots are intrelated and slowly revealed as you make your way through the book. This isn't just used as a clever device but as a way of showing the complexity of each character and makes the book something like both a collection of short stories and a novel. The writing is beautiful even in translation and the depth and complexity of the characters is amazing. It has a sort of classical feel to it but I think more than anything it is the timelessness of the story/stories it tells that gives it this feeling.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is London, 1963. Today is Alexander Abramov's forty-first birthday. He is an Israeli secret agent. Abramov parks his rented car in a rain-drenched square and takes a bus into town. He is a strange and mysterious man, quite withdrawn. Most important, Alexander has never loved anyone, although he has a wife and children back in Israel, and his parents were kind and caring people.

Two young women board the bus. They sit in front of him and he notices that the girl seated on the left is lovely, with her sleek copper-colored hair, "gathered at the nape of her neck with a black velvet ribbon, tied in a cross-shaped bow." Her eyes are deep brown and her coloring and complexion remind him of his mother's - fair with a pink bloom. As a Mossad agent, Alexander knows how to find the details of her life...and he does so. Her name is Thea and she is seventeen, twenty-four years younger than he. Alexander has devoted his entire life to "tough, disagreeable work, because he needed to love." His work, which is a "series of surmises, assumptions and risks," provides him with the means to distract himself from the emptiness he feels - the sense of otherness he finds within. Perhaps he is the Minotaur within the maze of his long repressed emotions. (Too symbolic for me!). Now he knows, he loves Thea. For the first time in forty-one years, he feels love and need.

Abramov writes to Thea from his hotel room. He tells her that he loves her...that he has loved her all of his life. She doesn't know him but she "will always belong to him." He writes that he has acted as he has throughout his life because he was unaware he had choices. He didn't know he would ever meet her. And now that he has seen her, it is too late. His path is chosen and he cannot deviate from it.
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By SM on November 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
This was a book that I found by random selection and fell in love with. It begins with an intriguing concept- that we are each meant to be with one certain person, somewhere in the world- and continues to reveal more and more about the characters and their actions. There is intense character development, but the plot remains focused and clear. It's the kind of story that transcends all cultural boundaries.
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