Timoleon Vieta Come Home – Dan Rhodes

When I read Gold all the way back in 2008 not only did I thoroughly enjoy it and laugh a lot I also got very excited about the author Dan Rhodes. It has somehow taken me almost a year and a half to read his work again now having finished ‘Timoleon Vieta Come Home’ would I enjoy Dan Rhodes as much as I did the first time around?

I wasn’t sure that a book about a dog ‘with the saddest eyes’ would work for me as I don’t tend to like adult books about animals, though I am an animal fan. However as that dog is the Timoleon Vieta of the title I knew I would be on a journey with him so I would have to leave my preconceived ideas somewhere else. I am glad I did as within about ten pages I was smitten with Timoleon Vieta (apart from the name which when you have to read it that often gets a little much) and quite wanted him as a pet of my own. Onto the story though.

Timoleon Vieta is the best friend, quite literally, of the composer Cockroft after he appears at the window of his Italian Villa one day. Cockroft a lover of animals, though with a bad history in owning dogs, cannot resist his eyes and so keeps him and spoils him rotten and the two become the perfect companions. That is until ‘The Bosnian’ arrives. Cockroft has a habit of giving out his card (along with a rather sexual quip) to good looking young men in the hope of long lasting affairs; he doesn’t expect them to follow it up, especially when they are straight. However as The Bosnian wants a free life where he can be happily bored for days on end he is willing to go to any lengths to get it, he just has to get that damned dog that hates him out of the way and one night after getting Cockroft drunk the dog is taken to Rome and bumped.

This is when the second half of the book kicks in and though we still read of Cockroft and his wicked Bosnian houseboy we end up following Timoleon Vieta as he makes his way home and surviving. We also are brought into the lives of those he meets and their fascinating stories in the Italian villages and towns. From a tale of star crossed lovers, a spurned Welsh girl after a holiday romance gone bad, to a man left with his dead wife’s child from another relationship these are all short tales of love, loss and betrayal and all of them are stunning.

I really enjoyed this book. There is a shock ending that I should mention as it has been slated on certain sites for it. I found the ending shocking but then sometimes we need to be shocked and sometimes books shouldn’t end the way we the reader want them too. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to give anything away, if you have read it and want to discuss it drop me an email as wouldn’t want to give any spoilers out on here. It’s official I really enjoy Dan Rhodes writing, in fact he could become a favourite author if it carries on like this. I was surprised this was actually his debut novel; its darker, quite a lot more graphic and a bit angrier than Gold was but none the worse for it and shows that Dan Rhodes can write two very different books. Four stars from me, which is high praise!

I think I will be reading a lot more of him this year and am already eying up Anthropology on my shelves. Any Rhodes recommendations or thoughts from you all?

21 Comments

Filed under Canongate Publishing, Dan Rhodes, Review

21 responses to “Timoleon Vieta Come Home – Dan Rhodes

  1. Like you Simon, I also enjoyed Gold immensely. It had a nice feel to it – I loved the old guys (A bit LofSWine-ish but better). But it had a kick in the tail too!

    I love Italian settings too. This one has been in my TBR pile for some time also – I shall definitely have to promote it (along with all the other books I keep meaning to read sooner rather than later).

    If you fancy reading another book where the dog is the star which is also darkly humorous I’d recommend Matt Haig’s ‘The Last Family in England’ which is told from the PoV of the family dog.

    • Gold is just utterly brilliant and I am really hoping that all of his works carry on like this as I have quite a few of them and think he could become a favourite writer of mine, I love his darkness, his emotiveness and also his humour.

      I have a Matt Haig book already but something, and I don’t know what it is, puts me off reading him. It’s not the one you have mentioned though.

  2. I have not read any Dan Rhodes. And to be quite honest, I was a little curious about the dog’s name. It’s definitely not very typical, and very very long. But the dog on the cover is just TOO cute. =)

    Glad you enjoyed the book. If I decide I want to give him a try, I’ll probably start with this one.

    • I don’t know where the dogs name comes from actually its not really explained… I think its something to do with the composer and classical music. He does get alot of different names in the book though.

      I would actually say give Gold a try as I think this book for a reason I cannot divulge might shock some people into not reading him ever again. Plus Gold is just amazing in so many ways and so so funny.

  3. I’m just a little leery of adult animal books, only because they usually manipulate my feelings and make me cry. Alot. This one might be OK, though, since I didn’t hear you talk about tears. And being shocked is sometimes a good thing. Yank us out of our slumber.

    • I am normally leery of animals (never heard that expression before but am now using it) in books too. I feel like they might try and make me feel a certain way, like I imagine Jodi Piccoult uses children in her books, and am not sure on that.

      You might be so shocked you might cry, I cannot say anything more than that.

  4. It sounds like a grown up Lassie Come Home. Preparing myself for the sad ending though (can we ever realy be prepared enough when it involves a lovely animal?)

  5. Er, I’ve never HEARD of Rhoades. Yikes! Must go fix that ASAP 🙂

    I’m not into books about animals, either. I will try Gold first!

    • Gold is hilarious, I will be making it my mission over the next few reads to get you all reading Rhodes, just you watch. Gold might need a re-read just for one special hilarious scene.

  6. I hadn’t heard of Rhodes until late last week, when i received a review copy of his new book, Little Hands Clapping. I shall now have to read that one pronto because he sounds delightfully kooky and you know I like kooky stories! 😉

    • Oooh you got it too hoorah. I hope you like him Kim I think he is absolutely hilarious, also quite emotive and shocking when he wants to be. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about him, twistedly kooky I would call him.

  7. I’ve never even heard of Rhodes till today. The book sounds charming!

  8. Eva

    This sounds SO weird & out of my comfort zone. lol It makes me a bit nervous, but I suppose I’ll put Rhodes on my TBR list since you’re such a fan. 🙂 Yay for challenging me!

    • I wouldnt say its super weird, it’s definately kooky. I think try Gold, I am not sure what the deal with him is out in the states actually. I wonder if he is available there? Let me know if you give hima go, Gold is where I would tell people to start.

  9. henrietta

    Yes, I loved this too. I think he is very clever. I would recommend “The Little White Car”, which is full of wicked humour.

    • Oooh I have that, I love the fact he wrote that as Daunta de Rhodes hahaha. I am going to try Anthropology next and then the new Little Hands Clapping too and savour the Little White Car.

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  12. SK Ang

    I just finished the book and will never read another book by this author again. I felt I was lured in by pretty promises only to be abused in the most horrible way at the end. Is it good writing by him? Maybe but why would anyone subject themselves to such abuse? His good writing is not worth it. If sadism can be committed by writing, this book is it

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