This week I’m listening to “Ziggurat” by Stephen O’Connor, which I found on the NPR Selected Shorts podcast. (It’s read by Tim Curry who does a fantastic job. It’s worth a listen. You can find it here.)
It tells the story of what happens when the Minotaur encounters a new arrival in his Labyrinth, a computer-savvy girl who affects him an an entirely unexpected way.
It’s a wonderful example of how to take a hoary old story and make it fresh and relevant and laugh-out-loud funny — without descending into slapstick — and poignant and full of suspense without being a mystery.
The author has a light, deft hand with description. At one point the girl is teaching the Minotaur to play pool (yes, really!) balances a particular brand of pool cue on her foot and the whole thing seems as real as a dank, mythical Labyrinth can seem. When he is leading the girl somewhere (and not, to their mutual surprise, eating her) the imagery is full of eating-imagery (“gnawed through the rocks”, “digested”).
Well worth a read ([Reading Room] The Day We Were Fish by Stephen Koster