[EPUB] ✵ The Minotaur Author Barbara Vine – Horse-zine.co.uk

The Minotaur pdf The Minotaur, ebook The Minotaur, epub The Minotaur, doc The Minotaur, e-pub The Minotaur, The Minotaur a7b2d4a0261 A Nurse Caring For A Brilliant And Wealthy Psychiatric Patient Comes Face To Face With The Man S Family S Dark SecretsNurse Kerstin Kvist Knows Something Is Wrong When She Moves Into Lydstep Old Hall To Care For John, The Mentally Afflicted Patriarch Of The Wealthy Cosway Family Beneath The Ivy Covered And Crumbling Roof, Nothing Seems Quite Right For Instance, Why Is John Cosway Taking Powerful Drugs That Don T Fit His Diagnosis Of Schizophrenia Then, As Kerstin Struggles To Figure Out Her Place In This Odd And Unsettling Household, A Stranger Moves In Nearby And Changes Everything For Her And For The Cosways With The Intellectual Nuance And Fine Dry Wit Characteristic Of Rendell Vine Thrillers, The Minotaur Is A Masterful Whodunit, Rife With Thrilling Twists Of Plot


10 thoughts on “The Minotaur

  1. says:

    Barbara Vine is a pseudonym for the author Ruth Rendell, and under this nom de plume she publishes novels of psychological suspense This one, The Minotaur, published in 2005, also has elements of modern Gothic horror It was possibly written as a homage to traditional Gothic mystery stories The story is narrated by a young Swedish woman, Kerstin Kvist, who despite a lack of experience in psychiatric nursing, has decided to take a position as a nurse with the Cosway family at Lydstep Old Hall, a huge, old, crumbling mansion in the depths of Essex This house is peopled with five dreadful, monstrous women and one man The matriarch of the family is Julia Cosway, a tyrannical woman who takes an instant dislike to Kerstin, refusing even to pronounce her name properly She does not believe that there is any need for a nurse at the Hall, only having taken Kerstin on at the insistence of her son, and immediately makes sure Kerstin is made aware of her opinions She has four daughters, three of whom live with her permanently, plus her son John, a 39 year old man who lives in a perpetual drug induced haze It is Kirsten s job to look after this man, although she doubts whether there is anything wrong with him It becomes clear as the novel progresses that view spoiler he is being treated for schizophrenia, although the actual medical term is not used for a long time, and Kirsten s later deduction, that he must have had Asperger s a mild form of autism , comes almost at the end, as a retrospective diagnosis hide spoiler


  2. says:

    I really had no idea what to read first in 2015 I actually felt like I had the reader s equivalent of writer s block, especially when reading others blog posts and tweets about how the first book of the year should be some significant, symbolic choice that would set the tone for the year to come I eventually chose The Minotaur almost randomly while reorganising books on my Kindle, feeling it would strike some balance between the light sort of stuff I actually felt like reading, and my vague aim to read a greater range of books those published prior to the last couple of years, those written by authors I haven t read before In any case, I ended up finishing Poor Souls Light first, even though I started it after this one The story begins with Kerstin, the narrator, bumping into an old acquaintance while on holiday This is Ella Cosway, a member of the formidable family Kerstin came to know in the 1960s, when aged 24, recently arrived in the UK from Sweden, and newly qualified as a nurse she spent a year working as carer to Ella s brother, John After this introduction, the majority of the book is told as a flashback to that time, albeit always from the perspective of Kerstin s present day self, which results in a lot of foreshadowing, a lot of of course, I couldn t have known then sort of stuff.The Cosway family consists of matriarch Julia usually referred to simply as Mrs Cosway , four middle aged daughters, three of whom Ida, Winifred and Ella live at home, and John The latter, Kerstin s charge , is vaguely defined as mentally ill and sometimes referred to by the family as schizophrenic The other daughter, Zorah, is a wealthy widow who occasionally descends on the family home, Lydstep Old Hall, to hold parties and bestow expensive gifts With John s care dominated by Mrs Cosway, Kerstin finds herself acting as of a live in companion to the sisters, observing their life in the village of Windrose The place and its inhabitants seem perpetually suspended in a much earlier time, with everything revolving around the church, village gossip, and the excitement among unmarried women whenever a new man turns up it s all much Jane Austen than swinging sixties In the midst of this, Kerstin is a fish out of water in ways than one.Kerstin reminded me so much of someone I used to know, even the specifics of many of her conversational asides and the things that interested her about other people, that she almost instantly came to life for me and remained a strong, vivid, very real presence throughout the story How much of this was down to Vine s characterisation and how much was due to me making that personal connection, I m not sure Once the comparison was in my head, I found it difficult to detach my perception of Kerstin from existing ideas about the person I couldn t help imagining her to be The Minotaur may be widely described as a gothic thriller, suspense mystery etc, but readers expecting it to have the pace typical to the modern incarnations of those genres might find it a letdown The story does gradually build to a catastrophic event, which is clearly signposted from the beginning, and it s full of references to gothic novels and sinister symbols, but the bulk of the book involves Kerstin simply observing the Cosways lives and their family politics The slow burn made it fascinating to me, and I actually really enjoyed reading about the family, but I can totally understand why some other reviewers have dismissed it as boring the narrative can be repetitive and occasionally lapses into dullness, sometimes feeling as if it s been deliberately stretched out to fulfil a required word count Kerstin repeats, and repeats again, her observations on members of the Cosway family some of these facts Winifred wears too much makeup, Ella has dirty nails are stated so many times that they feel burned into my memory However, I m not sure whether this is a deliberately engineered feature of Kerstin s character than padding to make the story longer The fact that she lacks the obvious eccentricity of the Cosways doesn t mean she is beyond reproach, and she sometimes comes off as quite petty Slow moving it may be, but I found The Minotaur absorbing As a portrait of a dysfunctional family, it s as carefully detailed as an intricately embroidered tapestry A dramatic finale wasn t even necessary for my enjoyment of the book to be complete, so when it did come, I was relieved to find it didn t disturb the equilibrium of the rest of the narrative Not for everyone, I wouldn t recommend it universally, but this was a good book to start the year off for me.


  3. says:

    I will start by admitting that I am a shameless Barbara Vine Ruth Rendell fan girl If you find me gushing about her books non stop , please bear with me Between the ages of 14 16 I was addicted to mysteries by Agatha Christie, P.D James and Elizabeth George Then I discovered Ruth Rendell and the rest , as they, is history.Ruth Rendell is one of the best mystery writers around and as Barbara Vine, she can be only described as deadly All the elements that make a perfect Gothic suspense are present here feeling of menace, old mansion , sinister characters, madness running in the family and family secrets The author knows how to spin a tale that will entice you to the book instantly.None of her books have disappointed me yet and I am glad to say neither did this one However, I do admit that The Minotaur did not leave me speechless like her other novels Fatal Inversion and The Chimney Sweeper s Boy Yet this book was compelling enough to keep me awake for two nights in a row.The characterization , like in all of the author s books, is flawless The Cosway family are such an unforgettable set of characters They mesmerise the reader and at the same time , they creep you out Their secrets, their idiosyncrasies all add up to the mystery and a sense of foreboding Dysfunctional families are common in most of Barbara Vine s novels and the Cosway family are nothing but dysfunctional to the core a domineering mother who doesn t seem to love any of her children and is hell bent on proving her son to be a lunatic , four sisters who behave like enemies and a son who is lost in his own world Is he really mad as everyone says What happened to turn him into what he is As Kerstin discovers horrific truths about the family, the reader is plunged head first into a web of lies, betrayal and manipulation that disturbs you and enthrals you at the same time You keep getting the feeling there are worse things to come Needless to say, the author s writing keep the pages turning.Vine s novel s are not only haunting and engrossing , but they are so intelligently written I can t stop gushing about her,really You need to find out how talented she is yourself The Minotaur is the perfect book for a cold winter night For me,Hot cup of coffee a Barbara Vine novel my idea of happiness Something I have always admired about Barbara Vine is that her books are such astute psychological study of the dark side of human nature At every page, you get the uneasy feeling of something terrible about to happen She builds this entire atmosphere of secrets and suspense which is what makes her novels so addictive.Even after the last page is turned, the characters remain with you.I don t think the author is even capable of writing a bad novel Maybe I am biased Maybe I am one of those fan girls who are blind to any flaws the author s books might have You can always go and check for other reviews but I assure you can t go wrong with a Barbara Vine novel.Quotes There s madness in the family The expression was old fashioned then if not yet politically incorrect, but she repeated it Yes, madness in the family When people say this phrasing it in various ways, they always sound pleased about this genetic inheritance Why is it that sculpted or carved faces, when seen by night in a half lit place, have a frightening effect while effigies of animals or artefacts do not No one expects the lion on a tomb to raise its head but everyone of an imaginative turn of mind fears that the human head in stone may turn, the lips part or twist into a snarl.The worst sound in the world broke that silence, not a scream but rather a long drawn out cry between a groan and a howl.No words, nothing human about it except that I knew it was human, the sound the tortured must make or those who have received the ultimate bad news.Overall To quote The Independent vintage wine from the Rendell Vine Recommended Yes If you love mystery suspense and haven t read Barbara Vine Ruth Rendell, you are missing out on some really good books.


  4. says:

    Kerstin arrives in a little English town to assist a family to care for their mentally ill son brother When she arrives, she realises that something is not right John, the man she is meant to be looking after is not quite what he seems What follows is a modern day gothic novel set in the 1960s, complete with the old house with secrets, including a labyrinth in the library, and a family that is hiding their true nature.The title is perhaps a bit misleading, as there is nothing supernatural or other worldly about this book It s a metaphor.I really enjoyed the journey that this book took me on, and I especially enjoyed the voice of the main character Kerstin I will definitely be on the look out to read of Ruth Rendell s books in the future.


  5. says:

    I wanted to like this book I was much influenced by the reviews noted on the back cover by other good mystery writers I will be forewarned next time I wanted to like this book also because I am looking for another writer I can read as a series This won t be one The pace is glacial OK, I get it that she is developing the characters But she never provided any reason to like or sympathize with anyone in the story, even the main character Everyone just plods along to the almost inevitable conclusion pain and misery OK don t read this part it is a spoiler.In the first chapter Kirsten, thirty years later, runs into Ella She is somehow unaware of Ella s life story after her earlier involvement with that whole family How this can be, I do not know, given that her mother in law lives in the same neighborhood But somehow or other she is totally unaware that Ella married the vicar Even if her mother in law was being particularly discreet a characteristic that she did not demonstrate in the story , wouldn t you think that a person so involved in a family s tragedy would somehow over the years have some idea of what happened to them I read some reviews of the audio version of this book I wish I had had access to that.


  6. says:

    This is my new favorite Barbara Vine novel, and she s my new favorite mystery thriller creepy situation author I listened to this one in the car, and it was read by a woman who did a lovely Swedish accent, but also did terrific, yet subtle voices for the rest of the characters It s a story that reveals early in the book that there was a situation a bad situation , though you don t know exactly what it is and when it s going to happen And when it finally does, it s even worse than you d imagined Which is great for the reader It s a quiet book with not much action, but it s a page turner or an IPod player nonetheless.


  7. says:

    A young Swedish nurse, Kerstin that s Shastin Kvist, takes a post in an isolated Essex estate in this peculiar tale that s straight out of an English Gothic novel Assigned to care for a mathematical prodigy beset by schizophrenia, Kerstin is unnerved by the female inhabitants of Lystep Old Hall and begins to suspect her new charge s madness is grotesquely rooted in his quartet of neurotic sisters and their strict, scarecrow esque matriarch.Among the worthwhile aspects of Barbara Vine s The Minotaur are its evocative imagery and strong Gothic overtones the old English manor enveloped in green vines, the labyrinthine library, the sleepy Windrose village, etc that lend so much color and depth to the story and will stick with readers for a long time Although set in contemporary times, the story is brimming with veiled allusions to the works of Charlotte Bront and Jane Austen that s sure to engage readers of Victorian literature.Vine s characters, particularly those of the maladaptive and toxic Cosway family, are intensely imagined and believable, albeit loathsome in their maddening eccentricities and selfish motivations One shudders to think of such individuals existing amongst society Kerstin the heroine is exasperating in both her cluelessness and her willingness to fall in line with the tyrannical edicts of Mrs Cosway Kerstin is not only incredibly slow to draw realizations that readers have already made chapters earlier, but she so often fails to speak her mind when it matters most whether to reveal what she knows to the authorities or to drive some much needed sense into Ella Cosway over her unrequited relationship with the philandering Felix Dunsford Although frustrating at times, the Cosways are an unforgettable batch of well crafted characters they mesmerize and repel readers with their secrets, their petty squabbles, and their overbearing idiosyncrasies, which, coupled with the author s fine narrative voice, lends greatly to a sense of foreboding.Absorbing and intelligently written, The Minotaur invokes a genteel English milieu that begets cruelty and violence the novel offers a shrewd psychological examination of the dysfunctional family and the dark side of human nature.


  8. says:

    The Minotaur by Barbara Vine could best be described as a Gothic mystery psychological thriller Despite a lack of experience in psychiatric nursing, Kerstin Kvist, decided to take a position with the Cosway family at the imposing Virginia creeper entwined Lydstep Old Hall John Cosway, her new charge, is a 39 year old man man being treated for schizophrenia He lives in a perpetual drug induced stupor, with his mother and four sisters The family matriarch, Julia Cosway is a tyrannical woman who appears to approve of nothing and no one She does not believe that there is any need for a nurse at the Hall, and immediately makes sure Kerstin is made aware of her opinions Her eldest daughter Ida Cosway is, well, what do you call a housewife who is not a wife She basically does all of the cooking and most of the cleaning at Lydstep Old Hall, and seems to be resigned to that appointment Winifred Cosway appears to be a prim and proper church going lady She is a caterer by trade, and has just become engaged to Eric Dawson, the town Vicar Ella Cosway is an unmarried teacher, and part time party girl, and the youngest Cosway child Zorah is an independently wealthy widow.Lydstep Old Hall is awash with tension, secrets, and locked rooms full of mystery An observant student of human nature, Kerstin soon finds herself in possession of uncomfortable information about the Cosways knowledge that when illuminated after a terrible family tragedy, may prove to be the undoing of the Cosway family.The Minotaur is a haunting masterpiece of psychological suspense Vine s carefully constructed story is incredibly absorbing, and full of labyrinthine twists and turns that will draw you in to this maze of deceit The plot is fairly obvious, but the build up of the story is truly superb The Minotaur is not really a who dun it type of mystery, and so will not likely appeal to fans of that sub genre Vine is much interested in the why aspect of the crime the psychological reasons behind the family tragedy and thus is able to create a thoroughly delicious and engrossing read.


  9. says:

    A wonderful re read of a Barbara Vine classic, about a cool minded, diary keeping Swedish nurse, Kerstin Kvist, employed to care for John Cosway, an enigmatic, autistic man in his shabby English country house All the other occupants are classic inhabitants of Vine country a family of snobbish, yet oddly vulnerable women who have a vested interest in the status quo of John s illness being preserved Enter Felix, a sociopathically vile and egocentric artist whom the daughter of the house falls for, and we have the start of an explosive mix that ends in murder.So much of the pleasure of this mystery is in the atmosphere of a foreigner incisively marvelling at a ghastly British middle class family and community, that I am happy to overlook a few oddities in the plot This is the most self consciously Gothic of Vine s novels, with references to Jane Eyre and the Gothic canon and all the tropes are played with delightfully a dilapidated manor house, a labyrinthine library, various marriage proposals, and a mad man in the attic as opposed to a woman On a lighter note, Vine s presentation of food is as brilliantly wry as ever, as Kerstin records her horror at the lumpen British food she is served ghastly cold bread and butter and tinned fish at tea time and disgusting toad in the hole Yet aside from the black humour, there is genuine poignancy in the treatment of John and Kerstin s relationship In particular, Vine skewers that peculiar sensation of a young person living amongst foreigners and seeing with a peculiar sharpness that all is decidedly not as it should be A wonderful treat.


  10. says:

    From the start I really liked this book I thought the writing was absolutely phenomenal, top notch character studies that make one understand and appreciate all the praise on the book cover As I progressed into the book, the reading process became a bit laborious I suppose one has to be in that certain BBC sort of mood for this, but the pacing was just so excruciatingly slow There was this massive build up for a fairly anti climactic and very vague cataclysm and, because of the way the novel was structured starting and ending with the present and the narrator interjecting numerous times the sort of wait for it, wait for it, something s gonna happen pretty soon, in the way anticipating any major occurrence in the book, it just came across as a bit of a let down as far as plot or any mystery of it goes Barbara Vine is a pseudonym for Ruth Rendell, of whom I think I may have read a short story before, so I was interested to see how she does in the novel form So, I think any mystery fan would be disappointed by this book, for a set in the past repressed british family in a large house type of novel it was very well written and, although far from the best of those or particularly original, pretty good.


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