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.Paula
Using third-person omniscient narrative voice but through a point of view of a dog Auster gives us an account of a personal tragedy of a dying vagabond schizophrenic poet Willy G. Christmas and his only friend and confidant Mr Bones, his old faithful.The novella opens with Willy's imminent death and a struggle to find his old schoolteacher to entrust her with his writing and to ask her to find Bones a new home.None of his efforts, however, yields success; Willy passes on leaving Bones on his own.In this both funny and heartbreaking story we see Bones wandering about streets, change homes, adopting new owners.Auster's honest and authentic doggy's voice offers a sharp depiction of society, its cruelty and hypocrisy.It is a masterfully written fable that reads like a social drama where dog is really the underdog, a happy family a utopia, and true friends a rare commodity. Will Bones trade his freedom for a comfort of a home or join Willy in Timbuktu “Where the map of this world ends, that's where the map of Timbuktu begins”?I enclose a passage from the book that tickled my linguistic appetite: “Mr. Bones understood. He always understood what Willy said to him. This had been the case for as long as he could remember, and by now his grasp of Ingloosh was as good as any other immigrant who had spent seven years on American soil. It was his second language, of course, and quite different from the one his mother had taught him, but even though his pronunciation left something to be desired, he had thoroughly mastered the ins and outs of its syntax and, grammar.”Carrie
I enjoyed this short novel quite a bit. The narrator is Mr. Bones, the canine companion of a homeless man named Willy G. Christmas. I found Mr. Bones to be a much more engaging character than Willy, so the first half of the book, which is heavy on background re: Willy G. Christmas, was a bit slow for me.I'm glad I stuck with it though, because this book is well-written and has a simple poignancy to it. I can't really articulate in shorthand what I enjoyed about the book, but it was a refreshing change of perspective, well-written, and I read it in what amounted to about a day. Definitely worth the few hours of your time it takes to read it.Lisa Guidarini
I don't read a lot of books about animals. I love animals and I love books, just not mixed.But what I do love is author Paul Auster. When I saw he'd written a book about a man and his dog that was it. Sold!I'm stealing Amazon's review/the PR blurb, because it says it all so well (and I'm feeling lazy):"Meet Mr. Bones, the canine hero of Paul Auster's remarkable new novel, Timbuktu. Mr. Bones is the sidekick and confidant of Willy G. Christmas, the brilliant, troubled, and altogether original poet-saint from Brooklyn. Like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza before them, they sally forth on a last great adventure, heading for Baltimore, Maryland in search of Willy's high school teacher, Bea Swanson. Years have passed since Willy last saw his beloved mentor, who knew him in his previous incarnation as William Gurevitch, the son of Polish war refugees. But is Mrs. Swanson still alive? And if she isn't, what will prevent Willy from vanishing into that other world known as Timbuktu?Mr. Bones is our witness. Although he walks on four legs and cannot speak, he can think, and out of his thoughts Auster has spun one of the richest, most compelling tales in recent American fiction. By turns comic, poignant, and tragic, Timbuktu is above all a love story. Written with a scintillating verbal energy, it takes us into the heart of a singularly pure and passionate character, an unforgettable dog who has much to teach us about our own humanity."If you love animals - dogs, especially - as much as I do you may get all weepy - as I did. I loved it.Michelle
Loved this book. As a "special" dog-lover myself, this book attributes all of the thoughts, feelings, heart and hope that I like to think dogs possess as well. Mr bones is a great character. Take away the fact that he is a dog, and you've probably never reads about somone who is so "good" and loyal.Will now be a favoriote of mine to recommend to any dog-person.Fabian
At its worst, this almost-novella is a prolonged and sorrowful swan song and existential meditation. At its peak, it is a radical exercise in stream-of-consiousness narration. Although reminiscent of Virginia Woolf at her most coherent, it is a relief to have a book that does not require trips to the faithful dictionary. Gratefully, this work is not rife with pretentions-galore (a-la "Book of Illusions" which is thankfully off the 1001 Best Books List) and has the imagination and sense of wonderment/awe that a work like this would demand. The whole book in POV of a dog-- there are moments when you think the author will fail, and the time seems impending, though it never comes. Auster succeeds in telling a sad, simple, organic tale of the universal connection that makes everyone part of the biological Brotherhood. Even dogs with men, and even a dog's innermost psyche has substantial clout in the real world.Stephanie "Jedigal"
This didn't entirely work for me. It's told from the point of view of the dog, Mr. Bones, in third person. Mr. Bones' crazy original owner, Willy, spends the end of his life as somewhat of a hobo (yep, a hobo in modern America, sure we still have them), and dies apparently of a respiratory condition far from their 'home'. At least the first half of the book focuses mostly on Willy's eccentricities, and although we are seeing them from the dog's POV, it just seems that the book is "about" Willy all through that section. Then Willy dies, and we see what becomes of Mr. Bones. From this point on the story is more enjoyable for me. The ending, although sad, works well. And I agree that although Auster's dog is completely different from the more familiar Jack London style canine - it does reflect at least part of my experience of what a dog's consciousness and priorities might be like - the heart of a dog. I'm not sure Auster's purpose in the long beginning - I fear that he wanted to use Willy's character to make some points about our society through Willy - but it just seemed too much. And it didn't allow us to REALLY get to know Mr. Bones much, so I was JUST beginning to become attached to Mr. Bones as a character as the book is coming to a close. Still, this is a SHORT book, and I don't regret the time spent with it, just think it could have been better.Sarah
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.Lucrezia
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 ...Rob Charpentier
Is it fair to sum up an author based on the merits of having read only two of his books? Whatever you personally may feel is fair, I feel as if I've tried my best to understand the hype and adulation surrounding this author but what I've read of him so far just doesn't impress me much. However, I will admit the fault is most likely mine in that I tend to be more of an opportunist when buying books, whatever is on sale and primarily secondhand. In this way, I've managed to choose only this authors remaindered and less popular works. I've yet to come across a copy of his apparent masterpiece "The New York Trilogy." I still have hope that I might run into it one day and keep an eye out for it when combing through bookstores. Until that day happens, I can't say much more about this author.Scott
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.Fausto
** spoiler alert ** Ante todo es una novela original, al mostrarnos los pensamientos de un perro, que además comprende el lenguaje humano. Comparando con la otra novela de Auster que he leído “El palacio de la luna”, ésta me parece mejor que Tombuctú, pero tiene algunos aspectos similares, como son los personajes y las historias excéntricas.Tiene 2 partes muy diferenciadas. En la 1ª cuenta su vida con su primer amo Willy, personaje estrafalario, poeta y vagabundo. Esta parte me parece más floja, se mezclan los pensamientos del perro, y las acciones, los delirios y las absurdas ideas de su amo. Lo mejor es el grado de amistad y compenetración que tienen ambos protagonistas. Otro de los aspectos que más me han gustado son los sueños del perro, en el primer sueño nos cuenta como es el final de Willy.En la última parte nos cuenta como es la vida de Mr. Bones en solitario buscando alguien como amo. El perro se da cuenta de otra vida distinta de la que había tenido, conoce el cariño de los niños, la vida familiar, las disputas familiares y las comodidades. Pero también echa de menos a su primer dueño, la libertad de su espíritu y el afán de aventuras de su juventud.Para los que tenemos perro, es una lectura muy curiosa al darnos unos hipotéticos pensamientos sobre las conductas humanas, y como tienen “calados” a los humanos con simplemente olernos. Refleja muy bien la novela la importancia del olfato, haciendo una metáfora fenomenal (esta metáfora la recuerdo de un documental sobre el comportamiento animal), al comparar los olores como si fuera un periódico, donde tiene información de todos los seres, humanos y animales. En definitiva, una buena novela con algunos altibajos, y con fragmentos interesantes.Mi nota: 6.liz
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...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).Louise
** 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.