Timbuktu by Paul Auster
A Novel

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Paul Auster

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Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Invisible, Man in the Dark, Travels in the Scriptorium, The Brooklyn Follies, and Oracle Night. I Thought My Father Was God, the NPR National Story Project anthology, which he edited, was a national bestseller. His work has been translated into thirty-five languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. 
 
Published April 1, 2010 by Henry Holt and Co.. 194 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Timbuktu

Kirkus Reviews

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In a bold if not entirely successful move, Goschke adapts Auster’s adult novel Timbuktu (1999) into a picture book/graphic novel for teens.

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Kirkus Reviews

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Wandering across the country with Mr. Bones, Willy veers between being a “bedraggled, demented pain in the ass” and, when he’s in his right mind, acting as Santa’s saintly helper.

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The Guardian

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Timbuktu by Paul Auster 186pp, Faber, £12.99 As Paul Auster awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed into a dog .

May 29 1999 | Read Full Review of Timbuktu: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Abridged from Auster's 1999 novel of the same name, this wrenching but misguided production follows an existentialist dog named Mr. Bones who finds meaning through self-annihilation.

Jul 28 2008 | Read Full Review of Timbuktu: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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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 d...

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BC Books

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But Mr Bones’ hungers and desires are very much dog ones, and his perception of the human character is as much of interest as his situation.

May 22 2008 | Read Full Review of Timbuktu: A Novel

BC Books

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Mr Bones’ journey as he tries to come to terms with the loss of a master he had come to love — while also looking after his own increasingly desperate welfare — forms the plotline of the book.

May 22 2008 | Read Full Review of Timbuktu: A Novel

Star Tribune

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The chief problem with "Timbuktu" is that Auster subtracts Willy from the world halfway through the book, and for poor Mr. Bones the world does not, alas, cease to exist, but only gets more complicated and confusing.

Aug 07 1999 | Read Full Review of Timbuktu: A Novel

AV Club

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Short enough to be read in one sitting and almost simple enough to make for a good children's book, Timbuktu is a curious work of unfathomable mediocrity.

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Timbuktu: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

This cloying tale narrated by a dog named Mr. Bones should annoy Auster's fans even more than his last book, the skimpy memoir ''Hand to Mouth''.

May 26 1999 | Read Full Review of Timbuktu: A Novel

Gather Books

As the book opens, Mr Bones' master, Willy G Christmas, is dying, and is on a mission to find Mr Bones a new home before that happens.

May 22 2008 | Read Full Review of Timbuktu: A Novel

The Millions

Every time there’s a new Auster novel out, I think it may be different, and I give him a chance, and soon find I’m back in the usual territory: identity puzzles, murky timelines, ominous danger.

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