- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 12 hours and 17 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Books on Tape
- Audible.com Release Date: April 4, 2006
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000FA4VWI
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Minotaur Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The creepy tone of the book is established from the first description of the vine-covered house looking like it's breathing because of the wind, and continues to the creative use of a library in the shape of a labyrinth (I want one). Without the annoying presence of the narrator, this would probably have been one of Vine's best.
The true star of this book is the Swedish nurse, Kerstin Kvist, who puts up with a great deal with understated courage and without losing a hair out of place. Almost not to be outshone is her charge, the grossly over-medicated John Cosway, who we know, from the very beginning of the book, somehow manages to make a getaway to a villa in Italy, there to live the life he has always dreamed. But how on earth does he manage to escape the over-medicating doctor, the demented mother and the four damaged - and somewhat dangerous - sisters? (And not forgetting the love-lorn vicar or the long-lost maze which, somehow, holds the secret to all of this.)
I truly enjoyed this book. It is one of Vine's better books, almost as enjoyable as Asta's Book. Highly recommended. The reader is always on edge, waiting for something in that horrible damp, cold house to go terribly awry - which, naturally, it eventually does.
Unfortunately The Minotaur, while satisfying, is not on the same level as Vine's earliest work. This book contains many of Vine/Rendell's signature plot elements: a character from Scandinavia, a dysfunctional family, psychologically disturbed individuals, other individuals who are autistic, and an East Anglian setting with one or more old houses covered in Virginia creeper. In The Minotaur these characters and settings aren't as well developed and tend to be more stereotypical than illuminating. The story also doesn't jump back and forth from the past to the present quite as much as other Vine works do. Some readers might like that, but one of the things I myself find most appealing about Vine is that shift from time period to time period.
Despite these disappointments, I did enjoy The Minotaur. It is a satisfying little mystery which in typical British fashion leaves much unsaid and the reader with much to sort out for himself. I also liked the glimpses back to British life in the late 1960s and the comparisons with life thirty five years or so on.
I recommend The Minotaur unreservedly for Vine/Rendell veterans. If you are just discovering Barbara Vine, you will get a more developed introduction to her work by first reading the two books I mentioned above or by reading some similar in spirit Rendell works like The Crocodile Bird or A Sight For Sore Eyes.