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General Reading - Labyrinthine Literature

The labyrinth has provided a muse for many writers, whether as a central theme for their work, or as a occasional by-way or motif for a specific book. Here are a few that we have on our shelves and have enjoyed:

The Maze Maker

Michael Ayrton
Longmans, London, 1967.

Ayrton’s classic retelling of the ‘life’ of Daedalus, builder of the Cretan Labyrinth.


Jorge Luis Borges
Penguin Books, London & New York, 1970.

A classic collection of labyrinthine tales and essays from the Argentinian master storyteller.

The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco
Secker & Warburg, London, 1983.

Eco's wonderful medieval murder mystery, set within the confines of a castle with its mysterious labyrinthine library. Essential reading for labyrinth enthusiasts and bibliophiles alike.

The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break

Steven Sherril
Picador, New York, 2002.

Imagine the Minotaur reborn and living in a trailer park, working in a diner in the deep south of the USA. Original and moving, this novel is a dark reflection of modern life and relationships.

Larry's Party

Carol Shields
1997, Fourth Estate, London, 1997.

Winner of the 1998 Orange Prize, this is "an ironic odyssey through the life of a modern man," from the perspective of Larry Weller. A journey that takes him from florist to international maze designer, via two failed marriages, with reflections on what it means to be a man living at the end of the 20th century. Apart from being a cracking novel, it uses hedge mazes, with their "controlled chaos and contrived panic," as a recurrent theme.

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