Minot, George 1959-
MINOT, George 1959-
Name is pronounced "mine-it"; born 1959; son of George Richards (an artist) and Helen Ruth (Hannon) Minot.
(With Myra Kornfeld) The Voluptuous Vegan: More Than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes for Meatless, Eggless, and Dairy-Free Meals, illustrated by Shiela Hamanaka, Clarkson Potter (New York, NY), 2000.
The Blue Bowl (novel), Knopf (New York, NY), 2004.
George Minot comes from an artistic family. His siblings are critically acclaimed writers Susan and Eliza Minot. His father, George Richards Minot, is an artist. Minot's first book was The Voluptuous Vegan: More Than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes for Meatless, Eggless, and Dairy-Free Meals, a vegan cookbook written with Myra Kornfeld. Minot wrote the cookbook because he suffered from ulcerative colitis and went on a macrobiotic diet. Much like his sisters did for their fictional works, Minot delved into his own family history and psyche for his debut novel, The Blue Bowl. Published in 2004, The Blue Bowl focuses on Simon Curtis, an unsuccessful artist in his thirties who continues to struggle with the memory of his mother's early death and his cold, distant father. After drifting around the country, depending on his siblings' charity, and living in one of his father's two New England homes against his father's wishes, Simon returns to the house where his father lives to spend a weekend hiding in the house and avoiding his father. When his father is found dead, Simon is accused of murder. Despite Simon's failings, his brothers and sisters come forward to help him as he faces a major crisis and turning point in his life.
After The Blue Bowl was published, hard feelings arose among Minot family members, much the same as when Susan Minot published Monkeys, a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories. This reaction also occurred when Eliza published The Tiny One, a novel that is, according to New York Times contributor Dinitia Smith, "a benign account of the same events … from the point of view of the youngest child." Many in the family, however, felt the most offended by George's book, especially Sam Minot, who told Smith that he believes his brother betrayed him and his father in the novel. In the same New York Times article, George noted that he sympathized with his brother's anger and said, "No aesthetic can touch it when you feel violated." However, he added that, unlike his sisters' fictionalized accounts of their family, which he said "were basically verbatim," he noted that in his book "all the events are made up."
Much like the mixed reaction that the novel received from Minot family members, The Blue Bowl was both praised and criticized by reviewers. "Minot takes risks in making Simon an essentially unappealing character," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. But the reviewer added that Minot's portrait of Simon's confusion was "inspired." Writing in the Chicago Tribune Books, Laura Demanski found that the book's premise was promising but was displeased with "the verbal muck of Minot's relentless, exhaustive, exhausting description." Mark Andre Singer called the novel a "strong debut" in Library Journal, noting, however, that "shifting points of view, cinematic jump cuts in time and place, and a conspicuous lack of dialogic punctuation may put off some readers." In a review in Booklist, Allison Block commented, "Part memoir, part thriller, Minot's work is both elegant and unnerving, dripping with dark images reminiscent of Faulkner and Joyce."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 15, 2000, Mark Knoblauch, review of The Voluptuous Vegan: More Than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes for Meatless, Eggless, and Dairy-Free Meals, p. 198; February 15, 2004, Allison Block, review of The Blue Bowl, p. 1037.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2004, review of The Blue Bowl, p. 104.
Library Journal, October 15, 200, Judith Sutton, review of The Voluptuous Vegan, p. 96; April 1, 2004, Mark Andre Singer, review of The Blue Bowl, p. 123.
New York Times, May 27, 2004, Dinitia Smith, "The Minots, a Literary Clan Whose Stories Divide Them," section E, p. 1.
Publishers Weekly, September 4, 2004, review of The Voluptuous Vegan, p. 103; March 22, 2004, review of The Blue Bowl, p. 60.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), June 13, 2004, Laura Demanski, review of The Blue Bowl, p. 3.
Vegetarian Journal, January, 2001, review of The Voluptuous Vegan, p. 31.*