Using omniscient third-person narrative voice but through a point of view of a dog Auster gives us an account of a personal tragedy of a dying vagabond schizophrenic poet Willy G. Christmas and his only friend and confidant Mr Bones, his old faithful.
The novella opens with Willy’s imminent death and a struggle to find his old schoolteacher to entrust her with his writing and to ask her to find Bones a new home.
None of his efforts, however, yields success; Willy passes on leaving Bones on his own.
In this both funny and heartbreaking story we see Bones wandering about streets, change homes, adopting new owners.
Auster’s honest and authentic doggy’s voice offers a sharp depiction of society, its cruelty and hypocrisy.
It is a masterfully written fable that reads like a social drama where dog is really the underdog, a happy family a utopia, and true friends a rare commodity.
Will Bones trade his freedom for a comfort of a home or join Willy in Timbuktu “Where the map of this world ends, that’s where the map of Timbuktu begins”?
I enclose a passage from the book that tickled my linguistic appetite: “Mr. Bones understood. He always understood what Willy said to him. This had been the case for as long as he could remember, and by now his grasp of Ingloosh was as good as any other immigrant who had spent seven years on American soil. It was his second language, of course, and quite different from the one his mother had taught him, but even though his pronunciation left something to be desired, he had thoroughly mastered the ins and outs of its syntax and, grammar.”
I envy Mr Bones and his grasp of another language so much – and I envy you too, miraculously multilingual.
Thanks, Meg. If you love dogs, you would perhaps love this book too.
Thomas Mann has a great story about a dog, and Andrew O’Hagan channeled Marilyn Monroe’s dog Maf in a book with a hugely long title which I can’t remember.