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Timbuktu | [Paul Auster]

Timbuktu

Mr. Bones, the canine hero of this astonishing book, is the sidekick and confidant of Willy G. Christmas, a brilliant and troubled homeless man from Brooklyn. As Willy's body slowly expires, he sets off with Mr. Bones for Baltimore in search of his high-school English teacher and a new home for his companion. Mr. Bones is our witness during their journey, and out of his thoughts, Paul Auster has spun one of the richest, most compelling tales in American fiction.
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Publisher's Summary

Meet Mr. Bones, the canine hero of Paul Auster's remarkable 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.

This production is part of our Audible Modern Vanguard line, a collection of important works from groundbreaking authors.

©2000 Paul Auster; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"After reading Timbuktu, we ramble through our world with reawakened senses and newly alert minds. This is the Auster magic." (Paul Kafka, Boston Globe)

"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." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"[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." (Chicago Tribune)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (20 )
5 star
 (8)
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 (7)
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4.6 (7 )
5 star
 (4)
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Story
4.1 (8 )
5 star
 (3)
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Fiona Shipley, United Kingdom 20/01/2012
    Fiona Shipley, United Kingdom 20/01/2012 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Beautiful"

    A great book for dog lovers & non-dog lovers. Not too sentimental but very touching & has humorous moments. I thoroughly enjoyed it

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-1 of 1 results
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  • Dubi
    New York, NY, United States
    10/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Should I Have Said Gehrig?"

    There's an old joke about a man taking a dog into a bar claiming his dog can talk. To prove it, he asks, "How is life?" Dog says, "Rough!" "What's over our head?" Dog says, 'Roof!" "Who's the greatest ballplayer ever?" Dog says, "Ruth!" The bartender throws them out. On the sidewalk, the dog turns to the man and says, "Should I have said Gehrig?" The joke works not only because we're surprised to learn the dog can really talk, but also because we know dogs respond to humans in other ways -- we buy into the the joke because it's perfectly reasonable for the dog to bark out answers that sound like "Ruff!" right on cue.

    Paul Auster's stock in trade in language. He is (rightly) not concerned with scientific rigor. So his main character, a dog named Mr. Bones, has a fluent understanding of English (almost fluent -- for some bizarre reason, he mangles the word English itself -- and he can't speak, only comprehend English). It's not that I'm unwilling to buy into this metaphor (although I do resent being told to do so within the text -- I can get it on my own). But as a longtime dog owner and lover, I would have found it far more interesting for Mr. Bones's understanding of humans to be based on reality -- empathy, emotion, body language, social hierarchy.

    Nevertheless, as a longtime dog owner and lover, I was thoroughly enjoying Auster's short novel through its midpoint, willing to suspend my disbelief over Mr. Bones's language skills. That's because the story, despite being told from the point of view of the dog, was about a man, his owner. It even made sense that he could understand what his owner was saying after lifelong companionship with him. Willy is an interesting character. I wanted to know more about how he came to be a lost soul, and I wanted to hear more of his rants, the high point of the book being the two extended rants Auster allows him to give us.

    I was also looking forward with anticipation to Willy locating his mentor, an English teacher, whom he hoped would care for Mr. Bones after his imminent death. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the story takes a wrong turn when Willy dies, leaving Mr. Bones to seek new owners on his own. I fully understand what Auster was doing by having Mr. Bones find owners who are the opposite of Willy. I just found it overly facile, and not nearly as interesting as Willy himself or the prospect of Mr. Bones (and me) meeting the English teacher.

    In short, like the talking dog who chose Ruth over Gehrig, Auster chose to pursue the wrong owners to take in Mr. Bones, abandoning Willy and his teacher.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Alfred
    Cedarburg, WI, United States
    15/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This is a terrible truncated story."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A complete story. An ending that was not hopeless and sudden.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Paul Auster again?

    Don't think so.


    What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

    He sounds like George Carlin.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Candace Russell
    Phoenix, AZ United States
    14/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Crap ending"

    I'm willing to accept authors' fantasies about how dogs think about things most of the time, but this just looks like Paul Auster got tired of writing this book and decided to hack it off with a scene that is not only unpleasant, but carries the fantasy way too far. Though some humans apparently have played games like that, it's stretching too far to think that a dog would do it. I hate it when authors don't do their homework before starting to write.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • BookReader
    Chicago, IL, United States
    13/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mr. Bones"
    Any additional comments?

    Timbuktu is just under six hours of listening, read by Joe Barrett. The story is written from the point of view of a dog, Mr. Bones. The dog is not a lovely Labrador Retriever, as pictured on the cover. Mr. Bones is a Heinz variety, of unknown heritage. That said, the story of a dog’s loyalty is a fun read (listen). The dog’s owner, Willie Christmas, of somewhat questionable character, is dying. The two converse … well, Mr. Bones ’thinks’, Willie talks. But, Mr. Bones understands pretty much everything said and has his own doggie interpretations. The tale progresses through Mr. Bones’ thoughts as he and Willie journey to Boston and someone Willie hopes will take care of Mr. Bones when the grim reaper calls. Any dog lover will get a bang out of this unique perspective. Got this audiobook via one of Audible.com’s Daily Deals. Enjoyed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kazuhiko
    TUXEDO PARK, NY, United States
    11/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "You don't need to be a dog-lover to enjoy this one"

    Or, maybe it is easier for a non-dog-lover, like me (I own cats), to enjoy this book. The unrealistic premise that this dog fully understands the human language did not bother me once I got pulled into the story. The silly, tragic, depressing, wonderful, sad, and at times hopeful aspects of the complicated animal called human are depicted so naturally in this book. I am sorry that I did not know anything about this author till I listened to this book. So, I put a couple of his books on my wish list. The narrator was perfect for this too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dot
    Brownsboro, TX, United States
    20/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "R rating-foul language"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. It starts out almost immediately with the F word, the D word, the S word. The story itself may or may not have been any good. I didn't get past the 2nd chapter before shutting it down. One can't tell by the short bio before purchasing it. I will never purchase anymore of Paul Auster's writings!


    What didn’t you like about Joe Barrett’s performance?

    He is a very good reader, but I am disappointed in anyone who will allow their talent to be used for such trashy lit.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Timbuktu?

    Why is cursing necessary for the story? I'd cut all curse words out.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Victor
    16/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Don't listen if you're on the fence about suicide."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    This story sucks and is depressing and pointless. The dog on the cover evidently doesn't match the dog in the story - at least that would have been something. Starts off boring, continues to make you want to kill yourself, then ends making you want to kill yourself.


    What was most disappointing about Paul Auster’s story?

    There isn't much of a story to this story. I'm glad I got the book on sale. It seems like a way to create a bunch of monologues for the writer to demonstrate how clever of a writer he can be, but it backfires. Willy Christmas sounds like a dumb jerkoff, and I'm sorry he was such a piece of garbage to his dog.


    What didn’t you like about Joe Barrett’s performance?

    He mispronounced prelude and some other words. I think the narration was ok.


    What character would you cut from Timbuktu?

    Willy Christmas and his mom.


    Any additional comments?

    Please do not waste your time on this piece of garbage. I did, but there's no reason why you should.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results

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