Timbuktu; Leviathan; Moon Palace

ISBN: 2742741461
ISBN 13: 9782742741465
By: Paul Auster

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About this book

- See more at: http://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/timbuk...Meet Mr Bones, the canine hero of Paul Auster's remarkable novel. Bones is the sidekick of Willy G. Christmas, a brilliant but troubled poet-saint from Brooklyn. Together they sally forth to Baltimore, Maryland, on a last great adventure, searching for Willy's old teacher, Bea Swanson. Years have passed since Willy last saw his beloved mentor, who used to know him as William Gurevitch, son of Polish war refugees. But is Mrs Swanson still alive? And if not, what will prevent Willy from vanishing into that other world known as Timbuktu? - See more at: http://www.faber.co.uk/catalog/timbuk...

Reader's Thoughts


I really enjoyed this. Not a peekaboo pomo mind fucker, not an overblown lament. A sincerely good story told from the view of a dog and his wonderfully crackpot owner. I got into it.


Auster's "Timbuktu" sat on my shelf for years and I'm not really sure why. Once I picked it up I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable read.The novel chronicles the last months of the life of Mr. Bones, a dog with quite amazing insight into not just other dogs, but into the emotional drives of the various people he encounters. At its heart, "Timbuktu" is a parable about loyalty and true unrequited love - told most poignantly in the stark distinction between Mr. Bone's love for Willy and Polly's lack of a real connection with her husband. Auster's use of that foil technique is quite well done and not at all heavy-handed.Although Auster's written word in "Timbuktu" is sparse and simple, there are many moments of brilliance (even though spoken by a dog!). His chronicling of Mr. Bone's every move is so well-done that any dog-owner, or any canine observer, will nod their head in wonder at how he so poignantly captures the exact motions and mannerisms of the mutt.And you must love a book that ends by both making you want to cheer and to cry.


This is a moving and unsettling picture book that isn't for young children. A dog whose homeless master dies seeks a place to call home and to understand what it means to live.


An interesting idea, but carried out in that self indulgent (Vonnegut?) way I don't dig so much. If you like Vonnegut and Kerouac and the stream of consciousness chapter in Ulysses, you might find that aspect of the book worthwhile. The thing that I liked best about the book ended up being the the thing that bugged me about it in the end - the "from the dog's point of view" take, and the question of whether dogs dream and whether or not they understand what we say. It started out fairly promising - the smell symphony was an interesting thought - but ultimately he was not internally consistent about it. Which drives me nuts... Sometimes he paid attention to what really goes on in a dog's brain, and sometimes he was just clearly a middle aged dude looking through a dog's eyes. The other thing that bugged me was that he used the stream of consciousness/point of view of an insane guy to regress into wordplay that was so self referential and circular that it detracted from the story. He was trying to do the "fool" thing, I think, but he did not do it as well as, say, Laurie King did in To Play the Fool.


This was a relatively short book and a quick read. Timbuktu is told from the viewpoint of Mr. Bones, who is a dog. He is a dog who hangs out with (as an equal) with his schizophrenic vagabond caretaker, Willy. This doesn't sound like it will turn out good, and I read on with a feeling of dread of what would happen, since I am a dog lover and really cannot stand when harm comes to animals. A friend of mine recommended this to me though, and she is also an animal lover, I trusted her not to steer me wrong.All in all, this book gives a touching portrait of the love between a human and a dog. Mr. Bones can understand English, and he also understands ways in which humans work: their lonliness, their ambitions, their dreams. It is told in the manner of an adventure story because Mr. Bones encounters a number of characters along the way and is treated differently by each of them. It was enlightening to read a book told from an animal's viewpoint because Mr. Bones relates his frustrations at not being able to communicate his feelings and physical ailments to those who would be able to help him. This is one intelligent dog, and it makes me wonder how true this dog's viewpoint is to those who reside all around us. Mr. Bones truly is an unforgettable character.

Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

I failed to connect with this book not because it isn't well-written (it is) or it has a boring story (the story is interesting, unique and with a bittersweet ending). Paul Auster wrote this novel from the point of view of a dog (named Mr. Bones) and if you are a dog-lover, reading this can make you cry at some points.The problem (with me), however, is that I also love dogs. I love to eat them. My parents were both hunters (when I was young). With his gun, my father would come home with exotic catch like birds, bats, monitor lizards, etc. which my mother would turn into delicious dishes (even small birds, for instance, she'll chop into little pieces--bones and all--and turn into her version of ). While mother was a stay-at-home mom, she also knew how to "hunt." She would trap stray dogs at the ground floor of the house where we lived and butcher them. Then we'll have a feast of dog meat (my favorite) and (for the skin). I watch her and her helpers expertly tie up the dog, smash its skull, burn it whole in a skewer to remove its hair and body ticks, then open it up with sharp knives.This was when we transferred to the province many years ago. When we were still living in the city, however, we had a pet dog. My parents didn't know what to do with it after they've decided to live in the province as bus operators (then and now) wouldn't agree to take animals aboard their vehicles (we didn't have a car then). What my parents did, therefore, was to butcher our pet, turn it into a big of which we took with us on our trip towards our new home.I'm sure that dog is now in Timbuktu (the dog heaven).

Simon Cleveland

Are you in the mood for something sentimental? How about a book on the sadness of a dog's existence? Paul Auster has taken a simple idea to a whole other level of reality and in the process has created a work that would transform human perception of the average canine awareness. Yet, I have to say the story was a bit much for me to swallow. Don't get me wrong, I love dogs (heck, I wrote `The Basenji Revelation' after all) and sometimes I wonder what they feel, think and dream. I had a dog and know for certain that it understood me (I hope not to the degree of Timbuktu's main character). But then the dog died and now I change the radio channel when I hear a sentimental melody which brings forth the memories of us walking together down the street (I still can't get over the fact that my dog suffered the heart condition that eventually killed it). Yes, I change the channel and quickly drain the pan of overflowing nostalgia, which is what I should have done long before reaching the final pages of Timbuktu (Well, what can I say, I love Mr. Auster's writing style). The story is written from the perspective of a dog by the name of Mr. Bones and follows up with its experiences as it looses one master, finds another, then a third, before it finally succumbs to the desire to escape the pain of its miserable, sickly existence in exchange for the chance to go Human Heaven called Timbuktu (Oh, the beauty of fiction). If you love dogs and have recently lost one, this book will warm up your heart and then perhaps help you with your grief (although I'm still angry at Fate for the loss of my little pooch).


Il primo libro che leggo di Auster , esperienza senza dubbio positiva ... Si potrebbe definire un on the road tutto particolare.... A narrare la storia in questo caso però è un cane. Tale Mr Bones (che bel nome per un cane, devo dire , fa molto chic). Mr Bones non è un cane qualsiasi, è dotato di un ' Intelligenza non comune per la sua specie, e anche di una notevole dose di saggezza e di senso pratico; quello che manca al suo padrone, ma più che padrone compagno di vita, William Gurevitch,logorroico filosofo e moderno scrittore Beat, che si è fatto ribattezzare Willy G.Christmas, a seguito di una bizzarra annunciazione/visione natalizia, ( di cui non voglio svelare nulla) dopo essersi fatto tatuare su un braccio babbo natale. Willy ha una missione , un vocazione , un compito nella vita ,definitelo pure come vi piace, e vale a dire: "E’ tutto quello che ho sognato, Mr. Bones. Migliorare il mondo. Portare un po’ di bellezza negli angoli grigi e monotoni dell’anima. Ci puoi riuscire con un tostapane, ci puoi riuscire con una poesia, o tendendo la mano a uno sconosciuto. Non importa la forma. Ecco, lasciare un mondo un po’ migliore di come l’hai trovato. E’ la cosa più bella che possa fare un uomo." E cosi il giorno di natale in particolar modo , ma tutti i giorni dell' anno effettivamente, Willy si mette le gambe in spalla e accompagnato dal suo fedele compagno cerca di rendere il mondo un posto migliore, sbronzo o in preda ad uno dei suoi attacchi di schizofrenia, inutile dire che troppe volte gli va storta, ma qualche volta gli va anche bene. Sempre senza un soldo in tasca, costretto spessissimo a dormire al addiaccio o a digiunare la maggior parte delle volte, nonostante tutto Willy continua la sua missione... Finché un giorno lui e Mr Bones sono costretti a separarsi, e dopo una mirabolante sogno reincarnazione di Mr Bones , questo riprende le sue peregrinazioni da solo alla ricerca di una nuova vita. Sulla sua strada difficoltà di ogni genere, ma nonostante tutto nei suoi sogno potrà sempre avere l' appoggio del suo compagno di vita, che lo consiglierà, nel suo bizzarro modo, sulle scelte migliori da fare:"Willy annui.- adesso vado,- aggiunse,- ma prima voglio solo ricordarti una cosa che potresti avere dimenticato-. Si era già alzato in piedi e aspettava che le porte si aprissero.- te la ricordi Mami-san, Mr Bones?-Sicuro che la ricordo. Per chi mi hai preso?-Bene... Hanno tentato di uccidere anche lei. Le hanno dato la caccia peggio che a un cane,e per salvarsi non ha avuto altra scelta che fuggire. Anche gli uomini possono essere trattati come cani amico mio, e a volta devono dormire nei fienili e nei prati perché non hanno altri posti dove andare .Prima di compiangerti troppo , ricorda almeno che non sei il primo cane a restare solo."Così, nonostante tutto, Mr Bones continuerà il suo viaggio, finché non deciderà di raggiungere il suo padrone nella terra dei suoi sogni Timbuctù. Un posto magico e favoloso dove finalmente i cani e gli uomini possono a parlarsi da pari a pari e dove Willy e lui non potranno più essere separati ...


This book is written with an amazing sense of detail. The style is gritty and very visual. The person who lent it to me loved it, and so did several other people in a book club I belong to.I think this is just not a book for me. It is written from the point of view of a dog, and is full of descriptions of smells and bodily fluids, and I frequently found myself grossed out. I also ended up skipping over pages of rambling monologues from the dog's master, and the book is so short that those ramblings make up a good portion of it. I was relieved when I finished.I can't fault the writing despite my personal feelings about the story, and I would definitely be willing to read other books by the same author.


در مقایسه با کتاب های دیگر آستر مثل سه گانه ی نیویورک، کشور آخرین ها و هیولا این کتاب به یک شوخی تینیجری شبیه بود. نمیدانم جایی خواندم یا از کسی شنیدم که آستر این داستان را برای دختر(یا پسر) خودش وقتی که سگ خانواده آستر(اسپارکی) در حال مرگ بوده نوشته و با توجه به اینکه در سه گانه هم قبلا از آستر این رفتار دیده شده بعید بنظر نمی رسد که حقیقت داشته باشد. در آنجا هم نویسنده، خودش و خانواده اش (البته به همراه سگ خانواده) را به نحوی وارد داستان می کند که برخواسته از دید پست مدرن آستر است. .تیمبوکتو اگر نام آستر را نداشت کمتر خوانده می شد و مسلما از کارهای خوب او نیستنکته این جاست که چرا این کتاب بعد از چاپ دوم( نشر افق) از پیشخوان کتابفروشی ها جمع شد و تجدید چاپ آن توسط وزارت ارشاد متوقف شد؟!!! ما که نفهمیدیم


On the surface this an episode—well, maybe three episodes—of The Littlest Hobo or something of that ilk only it’s been written by Paul Auster so it has to have a twist. And the twist comes mostly through the dreams Mister Bones—great name for a dog—has (or, in one case, a dream within a dream or it might’ve been a vision within a dream … may have to read that bit again). The dog understands English fairly well—apparently all dogs do and if only their jaws were wired differently we’d be living in a very different world—but being unable to ask questions sometimes his ideas are a bit off the mark. It doesn’t help that his owner has had an epiphany/breakdown, renounced his Jewish roots, changed his name from William Gurevitch to Willy G. Christmas and become—for most of the year at least (he winters with his long-suffering mother) a vagabond determined to do good wherever and whenever he can. Mister Bones is devoted to him. Several years on, which is where the book takes up the story, Willy is not a well man. In fact Mister Bones fully expects this to be his last day on earth. But he has one last job to get done, if only he can muster the strength: find his old schoolteacher Mrs. Swanson and hand over his dog to her. As the day goes on the chances of him doing that get ever remoter and Mister Bones reconciles himself to having to go it alone. Which is what happens. And he ends up attaching himself to two other people before we get to the end of the book, hence the feeling it’s like The Littlest Hobo.What sets the book apart, of course, is the writing, especially in the first section. We’re used to getting inside the heads of animals—e.g. Look Who’s Talking Now—so there’s nothing new there and Auster does a good job with the character of Mister Bones but the real delight is Willy especially when he goes off on a rant that lasts several pages and all I could think as I was reading it was that it must’ve been so much fun to write and if the book is ever filmed whoever gets to play Willy will have a ball with that monologue; it was practically worth the price of admission alone. A small extract:That’s American know-how for you. It keeps coming at you, and every minute there’s new junk to push out the old junk. You’d think we would have caught on by now, wised up to the tricks they pull on us, but people can’t get enough of it. They cheer, they wave flags, they hire marching bands. Yes, yes, wondrous things, miraculous things, machines to stagger the imagination, but let us not forget, no, let us not forget that we are not alone in this world. Know-how knows no borders, and when you think of the bounty that pours in from across the seas, it knocks you down a peg or two and puts you in your place. I don’t just mean obvious things like turkeys from Turkey or chili from Chile. I also mean pants from France. I mean pain from Spain and pity from Italy and checks from Czechoslovakia and fleece from Greece. Patriotism has its role, but in the long run it’s a sentiment best kept under wraps. Yes, we Yanks have given the world the zipper and the Zippo, not to speak of zip-a-dee doo-dah and Zeppo Marx, but we’re also responsible for the H-bomb and the hula hoop. It all balances out in the end, doesn’t it? Just when you think you’re top gun, you wind up as bottom dog. And I don’t mean you, Mr. Bones. Dog as metaphor, if you catch my drift, dog as emblem of the downtrodden, and you’re no trope, my boy, you’re as real as they come. It has apparently been adapted for the stage.The book’s title comes from Willy’s concept of heaven:“Where the map of this world ends, that’s where the map of Timbuktu begins.” In order to get there, you apparently had to walk across an immense kingdom of sand and heat, a realm of eternal nothingness. It struck Mr. Bones as a most difficult and unpleasant journey, but Willy assured him that it wasn’t, that it took no more than a blink of an eye to cover the whole distance. And once you were there, he said, once you had crossed the boundaries of that refuge, you no longer had to worry about eating food or sleeping at night or emptying your bladder. You were at one with the universe, a speck of antimatter lodged in the brain of God. Mr. Bones had trouble imagining what life would be like in such a place, but Willy talked about it with such longing, with such pangs of tenderness reverberating in his voice, that the dog eventually gave up his qualms. Tim-buk-tu. By now, even the sound of the word was enough to make him happy. The big question though is: Do dogs go to … well, Timbuktu?Once Willy and the dog part company the tone of the book changes and no one he meets is really able to fill Willy’s shoes. Thankfully for him—and for the reader too since Willy is by far the most interesting character in the book—his master appears to him in several dreams, dreams in which Mr Bones can talk and ask some of the all-important questions he couldn’t ask in the real world.You could read this book to your kids and they’d enjoy it but they’d also miss so much. It’s not a children’s book but it does feel like one quite a lot of the time—I guess that’s inevitable when you write from a dog’s perspective—but there’s a lot more happening here. All the ontological stuff will go whoosh! over the heads of the kids and also the sly commentary on the divisive nature of the USA. The good thing is that this is a book you could read as a twelve-year-old and enjoy and then pick up in your thirties and enjoy all over again. It’s Auster-lite and it’s nice to see he has a light side.


** spoiler alert ** I thought I'd give Auster a try, he's another name that crops up a lot, all favourable.I went for a small book, and from the reviews I'm lead to believe this isn't his usual type of thing...I enjoyed it, would prob rate it three and a half stars....it was a nice book...Tools from the point of view of Mr.bones the dog, who lives on the streets with Willy, who is dying, and then with a few other people.Whilst the p.o.v of animal is not original, it was done well, lots of references to smell rather than sight, which made it seem more authentic.I might give one of his bigger books a go now.


“Timbuktu” is the story of Willy G. Christmas and his dog, Mr. Bones. The tale is told from the dog’s perspective. He describes the life of Willy Christmas as they roam the streets of Baltimore searching for the home of Willy’s high school English teacher. Willy hopes to give Mr. Bones to his teacher, as he is dying and does not want to leave Mr. Bones to the streets. Willy is a mentally and emotionally troubled soul who has a history of mental illness and drug abuse. Mr. Bones is his only friend. As the tale unfolds, we explore the nature of the relationship of man and man’s best friend. Mr. Bones is forced to decide whether to follow his nature and remain loyal to Willy after his death or accept a new companion in order to survive. The story is, at its heart, an exploration in adaptation and growth.I found this book to be predictable and flat. The character names were trite and a constant reminder of the author’s lack of creativity. Although Auster uses a lot of sophisticated language to create depth in the narrative, he fails to develop depth of character and plot. This book is not appropriate for a younger reader because of the use of fowl language and drug references. I could only recommend it for a more mature reader who is looking for something accessible and not too thought provoking.


A dog's eye view of this world and a few decent folks in it. Auster steps down from on high and gives us a nice little novella.


I remember reading about this book when it first came out, and feeling very interested (I think it was around the same time as another novel narrated from the point of view of a dog?). Anyway, Mr. Bones is the intelligent, spiritual, philosophical companion of one Willy G. Christmas, a bum with good intentioned. Willy is dying. We get, through Mr. Bones's eyes, the story of Willy's life and death, and the subsequent story of how Mr. Bones must fend for himself. I really loved this book... up until the ending. I mean the very ending, literally the last page and a half. What a disappointment! I still liked it as a whole, though."Patriotism has its role, but in the long run it's a sentiment best kept under wraps. Yes, we Yanks have given the world the zipper and the Zippo, not to speak of zip-a-dee-doo-dah and Zeppo Marx, but we're also responsible for the H bomb and the hula hoop. It all balances out in the end, doesn't it? Just when you think you're top gun, you wind up as bottom dog. And I don't mean you, Mr. Bones. Dog as metaphor, if you catch my drift, dog as emblem of the downtrodden, and you're no trope, my boy, you're as real as they come."I also got a little kick out of the following:...then roused his spirits for a while to talk about his college roommate (the same one who had taken him to the hospital in 1968) -- a guy named Anster, Omster, something like that -- who had gone on to write a number of so-so books and had once promised Willy to find a publisher for his poems...

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