Books: Mixed Fiction

STORY FOR ICARUS, by Ernst Schnabel (313 pp.; Harcourt, Brace; $4.75), is a mythological novel about Queen Pasiphaë's untidy love affair with the great white bull of Crete. Although the ancient Greeks were seldom squeamish about aberrant sex, even they recoiled from this particular caper—which resulted in the birth of the Minotaur, a dull-witted monster with a human body and a bull-like head. In the novel, Daedalus the artificer indignantly denies the part attributed to him by legend—the construction of a cunningly made wooden cow in which Pasiphaë concealed herself to approach the...

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