Saturday, January 17, 2009
Timoleon Vieta Come Home By Dan Rhodes- My View
Have you ever come across a book that is all pervasive- it is strange, complex, high hitting on the emotional bandwidth, appealing and yet disjoint all at the same time. Well if you haven’t then “Timoleon Vieta Come Home” is just the book for you. Author Dan Rhodes tries to signify the theme of the book in the Title itself, where the dog – Timoleon Vieta represents the happiness that we all seek. The longing of the characters of this book is coined in the phrase “Timoleon Vieta Come Home”. This book is divided into two parts. The first part helps in clearly establishing the background of the book. It paints a perfect picture of an Italian country house, an old gay lonely retired Musician and a stunningly beautiful dog Timoleon Vieta. Everything seems perfect- both the old man Cockfrot and Timoleon finding happiness in this camaraderie thus killing the ensuing loneliness. Alls well until the evil Bosnian steps in. Timoleon Vieta and the Bosnian share an open animosity and are quiet expressive in communicating the same to each other. When given a choice, the old man under the strong influence of the Bosnian abandons the dog in the fervor that Bosnia would provide him with a better company than the dog who lived with him for almost 7 years. And of course he acts selfish for the sexual favors that the Bosnian offers him.
I believe the second part is most important of all. It is like a colorful collage of different stories- filled with emotions and dreams. As the dog touches the lives of many people on his way back home, most interesting shades of human longing, compassion, problems, behavior and coping are revealed. Each person including the Bosnian has a story of his/her own and the dog is like a missing link that runs parallel in all the stories.
The stories are all different and do not follow the usual mode of story telling, they start in the centre and go about explaining the flashback and the future. At some point or the other, everyone sees and tries to retrieve a part of their lost happiness in Timoleon Vieta. The girl form London feels good after feeding Timoleon when depressed because of a painful relationship break-up, the Cambodian girl who has lost her face in a landmine blast longs to see him when she is in Rome(she is staring at the picture of her beautiful sister and her European husband by tower of Pisa with Timoleon is looking at them in the background), the mentally challenged girl’s father who regrets to get up for shooing away Timoleon because that’s the exact time his daughter passes away(He imagines that if his daughter was alive he would have probably adopted the dog), the guy who loves a girl so much that he gives away all the nefarious activities for her and when she declines to love him anymore, he burns himself and goes blind. When Timoleon puts his paw on his lap, he feels the love of his life has come back. All these stories are highly emotionally charged, they at any point do not look as if fabricated to be compulsively put in the bracket of entertaining. They are just different stories of humans like you and me in our day to day lives- Living with both our dreams and our disasters.
Timoleon for all of the central characters of these stories represents their dreams- dreams that couldn’t be fulfilled because of certain inevitable reasons. Timoleon is a symbol of their longing. The author has tried to convey this sentiment though as a cogent under current and not stating it openly. When Timoleon comes near his home the evil Bosnian slits his throat and kills the dog. This conveys that the longing of these people is reflected for a while, they are filled with optimism but nothing changes after that. Infact their dreams die with Timoleon. Through Timoleon the author tries to explain, the hope of many people who live in the world of “ifs” and “buts”, imagining that things would change for them someday. I absolutely loved this book for the creative thought-process and framing of the storyline. Though I feel the emotional aspect is thrown a little overboard. Dan Rhodes has certainly used an intelligent narrative to churn out a book that touches our lives beyond the ambit of its premise.