PAUL AUSTER is the bestselling author of Travels in the Scriptorium, The Brooklyn Follies, and Man in the Dark. 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 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.
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)
"Over the past twenty-five years, Paul Auster has established one of the most distinctive niches in contemporary literature." --Michael Dirda, The New York Review of Books "[Timbuktu is] held aloft with audacity and brilliant, idiosyncratic language. . . . It's risk-taking and brazen energy suggest a writer on the verge of an even more rewarding leap into the air of his own uncharted territory." --Philip Graham, Chicago Tribune "A novel of haunted love whose themes loop around one another like glowing coils, connecting gracefully beneath Auster's clear prose, eliciting the fanciful and the tragic." --Oscar Villalon, San Francisco Chronicle "A modern parable that invites readers to probe below its deceptively simple surface for deeper truths . . . Auster demonstrates a well-honed talent for illuminating secluded facets of the soul." --Michael Hopkins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Lovely . . . Paul Auster is one of our most inventive and least predictable authors." --Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World