Timoleon Vieta Come Home Paperback
by Dan Rhodes
Meet the mongrel. Timoleon Vieta. A deeply loyal, undemanding and loving companion . . . with the most beautiful eyes. He's living an idyllic existence in the Italian countryside with Cockroft, a composer in exile.
Until, that is, the mysterious and malevolent 'Bosnian' comes to stay.
How will the stranger affect the bond between dog and master?
Timoleon Vieta Come Home is a free-wheelin' take on the Lassie legend, deeply moving and hysterically funny.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 214 pages
- Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 04/02/2010
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781847675620
- EPUB from £4.80
Showing 1 - 5 of 10 reviews.
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Review by pgmcc
"Timoelon Vieta Come Home" is about love, but more about loss, tragedy and abandonment associated with love. While the cover blurb states the story is about a bog, the dog's story is only one amongst many, and the dog's story is merely the string to hang all the various characters and their tales onto.The novel was well written, but it is quite harrowing. I don't know if I would read any more of Dan Rhodes' books. As it happens, I heard him interviewed on the radio last evening as I was driving home from work. He was talking about his latest book, "Little Hands Clapping", which is about a suicide museum.If you are of a tearful or sensitive nature, I would suggest you do not read this book unless you love books that bring you to tears.By the way, do not judge this book by the cover. It is definitely not a children's book.
Review by souloftherose
Carthusians Cockcroft is an expat Brit living in the Italian countryside with his dog, a mongrel with beautiful eyes called Timoleon Vieta. Cockcroft is lonely and so he is pleased when a young Bosnian man arrives on his doorstep and claims to have been invited to stay. The Bosnian understands that instead of paying rent he will be expected to give Cockroft a blow-job once a week on a Wednesday.The first half of the book is filled with Cockroft’s reminiscences of his earlier, sometimes happier relationships with other men, his former dogs and how he accidentally killed most of them and the struggles of the Bosnian and Timoleon Vieta to get along. Eventually the Bosnian has had enough, gets Cockcroft drunk and persuades him to abandon Timoleon Vieta in Rome.The second half of the book feels more like a collection of short stories of the people Timoleon Vieta meets or almost meets on his way home. This is where Rhodes really shines as a writer and these short stories really drew me in and made me interested in the characters in a way I wasn’t with Cockcroft and the Bosnian. I struggled to engage with the earlier part of this book. Cockcroft and the Bosnian are both horrible characters and it was difficult to empathise or even care about their situation. The second part of the book was much more engaging but again all the stories were ultimately tragic if not disturbing. I’ve heard the ending of this book described as shocking but by the time I reached the end I no longer cared about any of the characters, even the dog, so it made absolutely no impact on me.If you can stomach the subject matter you may enjoy this book but it left me completely cold. I didn’t enjoy this book and I struggled to make myself finish it. There’s no question in my mind that Dan Rhodes is a good writer, but I found the content bleak and depressing and reading the book left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Review by GeraniumCat
Dan Rhodes’ métier, I suspect, is really as a short story writer. In this book very little of the action takes place in the present, which acts mainly as a framework for a series of flashbacks of the main character’s life and, in Part II, a series of vignettes about the people that the dog meets on its journey. The protagonist Cockroft is an unappealing and weak man, the kind of person that an inspector from the Battersea Dogs’ Home would never have considered as a suitable dog adopter. Of course, Timoleon Vieta, a mongrel and stray with beautiful eyes, adopts the old man himself, so on the whole we have to consider that his judgement may be flawed. Admittedly his reaction to the Bosnian - another stray who turns up at the old man’s cottage in Italy - seems quite sound, but Cockroft does not have the sense to listen to wiser counsel. Pity - it could have saved us all a lot of grief. ‘Savagely funny,’ says The Times on the book’s (attractive) cover. I should have been warned. It didn’t make me laugh. I can see that there is wit, and the writing is well done; the structure, albeit slightly sprawling, works too. But it is too savage for me. Tragedy, even at its most bathetic, must have some kind of point to it, if it is to be worth reading, but I failed to see why I was being continually assaulted by stories of misery here. Not for me, this one. Moral: beware books with attractive covers. Or dogs.
Review by Boekenbeestje
A book about the dark side of life and love, very well written. Once I started in it I didn't put it down until I'd finished it. Rhodes has a way of creating a world where you want to linger a bit longer after the book ends.The stories of the people who the dog Timoleon Vieta meets on his journey are all tragic and comic at the same time. We are given mere glimpses into the lives of the people in the stories, I felt nearly all of them merited a book of their own. I wish this book would have been longer.There was a happy ending for the master of the dog, who didn't deserve it, but not the dog itself, who did. This was in keeping with the rest of the book as I found myself thinking : That's life ! Certainly life in this book but also very much what I expect to happen in real life. I plan to read more books by this author.
Review by JonArnold
Timeleon Vieta Come Home is Dan Rhodes' first novel, but sensibly as an experienced short story writer he ensures it comprises a patchwork of stories, the first a novella length story of a dog and his master and what happens when their life is disturbed by the arrival of 'the Bosnian'. The second half is a procession of short stories of the people Timeleon Vieta meets on his way home. It's touching and funny, and while 'the Bosnian' is an irredeemable villain (particularly given the ending) the rest of the characters are vivid and engaging. Even Cockroft, who could've been deeply unlikeable in lesser hands is sympathetic and engaging. It's a beautiful, light read that brings rural Italy vividly to life. Oh, and I defy any dog owners not to shed a tear at the end.
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