Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Timbuktu: A Novel Paperback – April 28, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Paul Auster is a cerebral writer, preferring to get to his reader's gut through the brain. When Willy dies, he goes out on a sea of words; as for Mr. Bones, this is a dog who can think about metaphysical issues such as the afterlife--referred to by Willy as "Timbuktu":
What if no pets were allowed? It didn't seem possible, and yet Mr. Bones had lived long enough to know that anything was possible, that impossible things happened all the time. Perhaps this was one of them, and in that perhaps hung a thousand dreads and agonies, an unthinkable horror that gripped him every time he thought about it.Once Willy dies and Mr. Bones is on his own, things go from bad to worse as the now masterless dog faces a series of betrayals, rejections, and disappointments. By stepping inside a dog's skin, Auster is able to comment on human cruelties and infrequent kindnesses from a unique world view. But reader be warned: the world in Timbuktu is a bleak one, and even the occasional moments of grace are short lived. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
-AMirela Roncevic, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
It's a flawed book -- too short, and not completely fleshed-out. It reads like it was written completely by feel, and in fact I heard Auster describe it this way, since he was intending for these two characters to be in a longer novel, but they just took over the story by themselves.
But I wanted to say that I was very, very moved by the story...enough so that I couldn't sleep the night I read it. I think Paul Auster explores loneliness like almost no contemporary writer. I don't understand anybody writing this off as a sentimental doggy story. Mr. Bones is a dog only because dogs are the ultimate disenfranchised group; even religions have no dispensation for them. I thought Auster hit on something really important here, that the circumstances of the story perfectly cut to the heart of the absolute lack of security in loving someone.
I'm frustrated by the book, too, mostly because I think Auster basically started the story near the end and didn't know where the heck else to go with it. Much of the middle feels like filler. But these are two characters who will stick with me a long time. Not Auster's best, but well worth reading.
Through a successful omniscient, third-person narrator, Timbuktu portrays a climactic period in the lives of these two discounted characters. Their street experiences have an interesting and very subtle effect of a hybrid parable/fable which is easy to miss upon a casual reading. Willy has spent his life writing and abusing his body due to psychological condition and a deep hurt that is never (and need not be) identified. His conversations with the cognizant Mr. Bones while teetering on the outskirts of a cold society to which Willy has been generous and compassionate are engrossing as they illustrate both the wit and deterioration of a bright mind. But Auster's story doesn't shout, is not didactic. Instead its subtleties may cause readers to reconsider the demise of community--for people as well as domestic companions.
Auster's writing is smooth as silk but his story has barbs. After reading this book, Willy and Mr. Bones continued to haunt my thoughts. Timbuktu is so smoothly delivered that it took me days to realize the concealed ethic in this humanitarian story. This is a seemingly simple book with hidden power, worthy of any reader.
How do we know the things we know, and how accurately do we know them when they are described by words? When we read a book, we tend to think the words are absolute in expressing ideas. They are, after all, the author's tools.
Mr Bones' idea of the human world is convoluted-not-clarified by words. Mr Bones' notions of what things are is not so clear when all he has to go on is the word. What is Timbuktu? A symbol of heaven? But what if pets are not allowed? Or is it just a dry, dusty little city in the sw Sahara?
What is this "vacation" the Joneses are going on, when Mr Bones' only idea is Mom-san's "I'm on vacation" at the end of house chores?
There is a word on p 26 used to describe Willy's career: vagabondage. A real word. A word that consists of two words (vagabond and bondage) nearly opposite in meaning, hinged on a third: "bond". This is pretty heady stuff, not unlike the Mirror Fugues in Bach's "Art of Fugue".
In "In the Country of Last Things" there is a passage about the deterioration of words, of how they wear out and lose their meanings. This theme is prominent in this work.
Then there is Mr Bones. Aka Cal Ripken Junior the Second. Aka Sparky. Same creature, and just as real to each of his "boon companions". What is this three-named creature? Is he any different in any of those identities?
This one looks like it's ready for a doctoral dissertation right out of the box. And my favorite Auster. So far.
As for Mr. Bones himself, each reader will have a private opinion as to how well the dog is portrayed - an opinion based on the reader's presuppositions about dogs. That is to say that the author does not develop Mr. Bones in a manner to cause the reader to suspend disbelief if the portrayal is significantly different from the reader's opinions on dogs.
Nevertheless, the book is an enjoyable read - and a reasonable reread - especially for dog lovers. But if you've not read Paul Auster before, this is not the book on which you should judge the quality of his work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a great, emotional read. Very enjoyable from beginning to end.Published 5 months ago by idontcar
I was not ready for the ending - it makes perfect sense, but still a 'jolt'.Published 6 months ago by Frank Holt
For the first third or so of the book, I was underwhelmed. Willy G. Christmas' back story didn't do much for me. Only when Mr. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Richard Bon
A bit rambling in places, I haven't been able to finish it because I somewhat lost interest in it. Not as great as some books, better than others.Published 12 months ago by alexidarling
This is the first Paul Auster book I read. I have to say that I love the guy. He's clever, witty and shows so much sensitivity. The book, narrated by the charismatic dog "Mr. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jesse & Ceci
This was an enjoyable and fun read, but the death of Willy might have been avoided if he had gotten medical help earlier, and then the dog, Bones, runs from veterinarian care, and... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Kindle Customer