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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars26
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 6 September 2008
One of America's greatest living writers. Another superb offering from Auster. This is shorter than some of his other books. His depiction of the relationship between man and dog is heart rendering and full of compassion. Auster is just so clever with his fable-type ideas and is certainly up there with Mr Vertigo and Music of Chance. If you are looking for an intelligent read, full of creativity and sensitivity then Auster really is your man. He really does understand the complexity of story telling.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 February 2012
Paul Auster's 1999 short (185-page) novel Timbuktu is an enchanting fantasy based on the life of Mr Bones, canine companion to one Willy G. Christmas, a Brooklyn-born poet who has fallen down on his luck. Along with Jack London's Call Of The Wild and White Fang, Timbuktu is one of the most enjoyable novels I've read from the category (should one exist) of 'animal-based fiction'.

Auster writes with typically brilliant prose, which is, as ever, easily digestible (to the extent that this book could easily be devoured in a single sitting), but which also conveys magically the more fantastic elements of the story. Central (human) character, Willy, is recovering from having led a life fuelled with drugs and alcohol, and despite having had occasional fantastic experiences (such as the one with an hallucinogenic Santa Claus, which gave him his adopted surname), the novel begins with the bedraggled poet, accompanied by loyal dog Mr Bones, looking set for a premature entry into heaven (or, as Willy calls it, Timbuktu). Following a series of dream-based, philosophical exchanges between the main two protagonists (man and dog), Mr Bones finds himself on his lonesome, and facing the grim reality of making his way in the world alone. Thereafter, Auster creates a series of beautifully created vignettes/adventures for Mr Bones as he befriends various children, finds human adult relations more taxing and finally is left with the dilemma of whether he wishes to pursue life on earth or in Timbuktu.

This is another cleverly written and beautifully poignant tale from the master of this written form and, whilst not on a par with his absolute best works (The Music of Chance, New York Trilogy, The Book of Illusions, etc) comes highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 7 January 2009
What do you get when you read a Paul Auster book? Prose to die for, great character studies and a plot line which causes a dilemma, as you want to read on but then you don't want the book to end. With Timbuktu you get all of the above. Even though the narrator is a dog called Mr. Bones, you become attached to him and through him his master Willy G Christmas (read the book to see why). Auster gives us in this short novel all that humanity desires, love, friendship and happiness. Genius.
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on 22 July 2009
I don't like books written with animal voices. They are invariably trite and sentimental. This book has changed my mind. The prose is beautifully crafted and you really begin to care about the dog "speaking". Much of the story is irksome, but then I suspect it is meant to be, I could't put it down and, whilst I would not wish to spoil the ending I had to hide a tear from the other passengers on the bus!
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on 11 November 2011
The first novel I read by Paul Auster was the New York Trilogy. How different Timbuktu is, but there again, every novel by Paul Auster is completely different, except to say that he is a master storyteller and I dont think I have read any book that has disappointed. To anyone who does not like a story written from the point of view of an animal, I would say, 'be open-minded' and be prepared to be surprised. I remember this book with affection and there is a poignancy to it. I would have not any hesitation in recommending it to any Paul Auster fans and to those who are new to this super author, the next one will be different and so will the next one!
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on 12 July 2014
I wasn't sure of this when I started reading (I found the character of Willy Christmas and all his wordplay a little annoying) but by and by Mr Bones got under my skin and, if the only thing this book does is make people doubly consider the feelings of dogs, it is worth reading.
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on 19 August 2011
If you've ever owned or loved a dog you will certainly love this wonderful little book. It manages to cram more depth, emotion and pathos into its few pages than much longer works can only dream of. Like another reviewer I noticed here, I too had to hide a tear (or two) on public transport at the ending.

If you've never owned or loved a dog...it's about time you tried!
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on 12 January 2013
A most unusual and moving dog story...more a work of philosophy. It stays in the mind well after the last page.
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on 28 May 2010
i read this in two sittings (thats good for me) to begin with i thought this was going to be slow and i was wondering is this book for me BUT i loved it in the end! I dont really know the point of willy changing his name etc but for me the whole point of him was his love for Mr bones as his master, owner and keeper. I dont wanna give the story away but it did give me a lump in my throat and i was jut willing everything to be ok for MR Bones. I feel in love with him and could hear his character saying and feeling what was written. Some parts did have me laughing and smiling when he got upto naughty antics. This is a short book, with not a great storyline but if u love animals and especially dogs you will read to the end to find out what happens to the loveable Mr Bones 9/10
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on 24 June 2012
This is a charming tale of the trials of Mr Bones after his homeless owner, Willy G Christmas, passes away. I read it on my Kindle but now must buy a paperback copy so I can send it to my mum in South Africa.

Highly recommended.
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