Bull

David Elliott. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (200p) ISBN 978-0-544-61060-6
Using the cadences and unfiltered directness of rap, Elliott (Nobody’s Perfect) tells the Greek myth of the Minotaur in the seven distinct voices of Poseidon, King Minos, Queen Pasiphae, her half-man/half-bull son Asterion, his sister Ariadne, Daedalus, and—in a minor but critical role—Theseus, prince of Athens and, possibly, Poseidon’s son. The story unfolds in interior monologues, each in a different poetic form, which the author deconstructs in one of two closing notes. All are heard by Poseidon, who comments and adds background: “And rather than be called a slut/ She said I was the father of her mutt./ (You humans tend to be less catty/ When an immortal is the daddy).” Everybody knows how this myth ends, yet Asterion’s final words still resonate: “Hell is the freezing/ scorn for who you are/ that transforms a faultless boy/ to Minotaur.” Elliott contemporizes the ancient story of blackmail, betrayal, and revenge with humor, poignancy, and profanity. Hamilton comparisons are unavoidable, yet the personalities and voices Elliott brings to these mythical characters make this powerful and engrossing book a genre of its own. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/24/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
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