The Minotaur’s Son & other wild tales is a collection of short quirky stories. Hmmm, perhaps “quirky” is an understatement, or perhaps the wrong word completely. It might be easier just to give you the gist of the stories and you will get the idea.
The first story, The Siren Call finds the ghost of five-year dead teenager, Jacob Fletcher, sitting on a fisherman’s roof by the sea talking to a cat and a bat. Yes, I did say cat and bat. The teenager, despite frantic attempts from his father and two lifeguards to save him, drowned five years ago in the sea. He is trapped in this limbo state because his body was never recovered. As you can imagine life has become a tad boring for a teenage ghost who spends his time sitting on a roof and talking to a cat and bat. So, he is more than a little interested when a mermaid approaches him from the sea with a mesmerising offer.
I’m willing to bet with the second story “Chuck Montana in the Twenty-Second Century”, Ansbro is having a stab at William Shatner’s portrayal of Captain Kirk from Star trek and Austin Powers. Either way it is an hilarious story that will have you laughing right from the first paragraph.
Just as I thought that the entire collection was going to be full of stories of magical realism and science fiction, I should have remembered the saying, never judge a book by its cover as Ansbro delivers a third story that is a sad reminder of appreciation and tolerance for our aging parents.
“The Minotaur’s Son”, feels like it has come from the imagination of Guillermo del Toro, and is a wonderful, fantastical tale, again with a parable type lesson.
“The Show-off” seems to be an anecdotal story about the kind of person I think we have all met at a party. I am burning to find out more about this one.
The longest of the stories, “A Matter of Honour”, is perhaps my favourite of the collection. This love story set in the aftermath of the Crimean War would make a brilliant full-length novel. The Charge of the Light Brigade, the Nightingales, this story was made for me and has a beautiful poignant ending.
The antics of the three main characters, Om, Kabir and Sanjay will have you in hysterics as they kidnap the maharaja’s favourite concubine and hold her for ransom in “The Concubine and the Postman”.
“Extinction” is the story of a planet that has heated up to the extent that it can no longer support life. Hmmm. The last alien alive has a ship containing the last embryos of its species and is heading off on a Hail-Mary mission to a planet in another solar system that is capable of sustaining life. The planet’s name, Earth. This one almost seems like the uber refugee story. You have to smile when the alien eventually makes it to Earth and has trouble breathing because of the high levels of carbon dioxide in the air. But the smiles disappear come the ending.
“Brian the Bigot” contains easily the most odious character in the collection, oh but his actions and offensive attitude towards, well, just about everything, make for some great laughs. Especially the way he treats his customers. He’s homophobic, he’s racist. He’s sexist, he’s the complete package. Once again this one ends with a wicked, evil twist.
The rest of the stories take the reader to Ancient Greece, Modern day Japan, Africa in the seventeenth century, Ireland, and Kansas with “Dorothy in Oz”. So many different locations but they all share wonderful stories.
Most of the stories contain the same humour and clever twists at the end, and many read like a parable with an important message gifted to the reader upon conclusion. They also all contain Ansbro’s lovely metaphorical writing style. He also has a knack for placing the right adjective in a sentence to make it pop. In fact, I may as well just say it, he writes beautifully. If you like flowing descriptive writing, as I do, then you will love the stories regardless of content. Well that may be a bit of a stretch, but not by much.
I was hoping that this collection was going to be a nice read, easy and light so I could just give it a three or four star rating and then people would think that I have not been swayed by friendship, but the simple fact of the matter is that this wonderful collection deserves a five. The writing is superb, the stories are a joy to read and cover so many topics and genres. In fact. the only quibble I have is that it could have had a couple of more stories. Congratulations on a wonderful book Kevin, I will be reading all your work. 5 stars!
This is Kevin's fourth novel and it is going up on the 2019 favourites of the year page.
Kevin was born of Irish parents, and has lived in Malaysia and Germany: His formal education was at Hamond's Grammar School in Swaffham, and at the Norfolk College of Arts and Technology.
Normally, I leave a link here to an interview with the author talking about the book, but Kevin has graciously accepted my invite to an interview and I will post it as soon as I have it all organised.