Paul Auster's comic and poignant Timbuktu stars an unforgettable dog who has much to teach us about our own humanity.
Paul Auster is the best-selling author of Invisible, Moon Palace, Mr Vertigo, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other honours are the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke and the Prix Medicis Etranger for Leviathan. He has also been short-listed for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance). His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Meet discerning and sympathetic Mr. Bones, a dog who is unconditionally faithful to his troubled master, Willy G. Christmas. Auster's leading human character is once again a tormented writer from Brooklyn who blindly believes in his ideals and willingly chooses to become a vagabond (see, for instance, Leviathan, LJ 7/92). But the real hero is the four-legged creature who follows him on his impromptu journeys and leads readers through the story. Yes, he thinks and he understands, and although he cannot speak, he keenly observes and contemplates the questionable logic of human behavior. The beginning of the story is promising; the middle gets suspiciously trivial but is rescued by a clever and moving ending. This is not the kind of work Auster has been praised for, but it proves his hunger for innovation once again. Timbuktu will undoubtedly provoke mixed responses, but that is the price of originality. There is something plain yet mysteriously intricate beneath Auster's trademark smooth writing. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/99.]ÄMirela Roncevic, "Library Journal" Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
"'A howling success.' Mail on Sunday 'Few novels are as delightful as this... this joy of a book... is as sensitive as it is daring.' Irish Times"
The always surprising and astute Auster (New York Trilogy; Mr. Vertigo) wrings one of his most poignant, immediate novels from the mind of an intelligent mutt named Mr. Bones who faces the crisis of a lifetime in the death of his deranged master and best friend. Mr. Bones does not talk, but he understands even the ravings of Willy G. Christmas, a "genuine, dyed-in-the-wool logomaniac" who has dedicated his life to serving as the earthly manifestation of Santa Claus through sporadic acts of kindnessÄwhen he's not drinking, wandering or writing poems. Willy initially adopts Mr. Bones as a measure of protection from life in the streets. But the two form a much deeper bond as constant companions through travels all over the country and winters in Brooklyn. As the novel opens, Willy is coughing up blood, realizing that his days are numbered; he and Mr. Bones have embarked on a mission to Baltimore to deliver a suitcase full of Willy's writings to an old teacher. After death comes for Willy, he continues to appear in Mr. Bones's dreams from the afterlife the dog knows as "Timbuktu." Mr. Bones's new existence is frightening and strange as he finds himself involved with children and members of mainstream society more subtly and deeply disturbed than his dear old friend. In this brilliant novel, Auster writes with economy, precision and the quirky pathos of noir, addressing the pernicious ubiquity of American consumerism, the nature of love and the core riddles of ontology. Above all, though, this is the affecting tale of a special dog's place in the universe of humans and in the fleeting life of a special man. Agent, Carol Mann. 60,000 first printing; author tour. (May)