I raced through Timoleon Vieta while on a flight to Bristol from Edinburgh. I don’t read that fast — we were descending into Bristol when we got turned around to Liverpool to refill and wait while a devastating one centimetre of snow had to be cleared from the Bristol Airport runway. So a 45-minute flight that had already been delayed in Edinburgh took three hours instead.
So. Timoleon Vieta Come Home is thought of in certain circles as Dan Rhodes’ best work. I have to say that I agree. Dan* has a real talent for putting the absurd into words that make sense, and for writing endings that cause the reader to inhale quite sharply and suddenly.
Timoleon Vieta is a dog. Cockcroft is its owner. One day, the Bosnian comes to stay — a wholly unlikable character — and Timoleon Vieta suffers for it. I remember the marketing gumpf for it says it’s a new take on the Lassie story. It is, in that we follow Timoleon Vieta trying to get home. But there’s something incredibly inventive, darkly comic, and touching about the novel that makes it stand out.
* Disclaimer: I know the author. We’re not pals or anything like that, but he is an acquaintance.