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I will never look at a gecko in the same way again I like geckos, they are good company and always paying attention to even the smallest move I make.I have met African geckos, South American geckos and Asian geckos and all of them had the same air of independence to them, a free spirit so to speak.No wonder this particular member of the gecko species has a past, we all have, but this one inspires the reader in a very special way.Would you like adistinguished, anoble or flashy family I will never look at a gecko in the same way again I like geckos, they are good company and always paying attention to even the smallest move I make.I have met African geckos, South American geckos and Asian geckos and all of them had the same air of independence to them, a free spirit so to speak.No wonder this particular member of the gecko species has a past, we all have, but this one inspires the reader in a very special way.Would you like adistinguished, anoble or flashy family tree Would you like to erase your past and replace it with something else for your own personal reasons All can be done in the company of a gecko just don t rely on coincidences I read arecent novel by this author earlier this year, A General Theory of Oblivion Both novels are set after the 1975 revolution in Angola, where the Portuguese felt a shift in power and empire A General Theory of Oblivion focuses on a woman who walls herself up in her apartment for decades and experiences the conflict through what she hears and in how her food stores disappear Chameleons tells the story of Felix Ventura, a man who helps people construct new backstories through fake li I read arecent novel by this author earlier this year, A General Theory of Oblivion Both novels are set after the 1975 revolution in Angola, where the Portuguese felt a shift in power and empire A General Theory of Oblivion focuses on a woman who walls herself up in her apartment for decades and experiences the conflict through what she hears and in how her food stores disappear Chameleons tells the story of Felix Ventura, a man who helps people construct new backstories through fake lineages The story is told by a former librarian who is reincarnated as a gecko Read that sentence again The chapters are short They alternate between characters coming in for a new skin and dreams the gecko is having Felix starts to share dreams with the gecko The violence happens between the events of the novel, which is an interesting way for it to happen The characters have strong bonds that he may not know himself Very readable, kept me hooked, great cover.I also think the translation deserves a mention because it is passages like this that kept me reading The two guests remained, seated opposite each other Neither spoke The silence that hung between them was full of murmurings, of shadows, of things that run along in the distance, in some remote time, dark and furtive Very strange novella, and I don t know why it won the awards and plaudits that it did Am I the boy declaring the emperor has no clothes, or have I missed the point Either way, I wouldn t recommend spending your own money on it This should probably be either 1 or 4 , but as I don t know which, I m compromising on 2.THEMESIt is about truth and lies, dreams and reality, memory, predestination, fitting in, and the difference between having a dream and making one, but it ssuperficial than Very strange novella, and I don t know why it won the awards and plaudits that it did Am I the boy declaring the emperor has no clothes, or have I missed the point Either way, I wouldn t recommend spending your own money on it This should probably be either 1 or 4 , but as I don t know which, I m compromising on 2.THEMESIt is about truth and lies, dreams and reality, memory, predestination, fitting in, and the difference between having a dream and making one, but it ssuperficial than that makes it sound.PLOTIt s set in Angola though there s little sense of Africa in it , and is about, Felix, an albino bibliophile with mild OCD whose business is to Guarantee your children a better past I invent dreams for people, I am not a forger Some chapters they are typically only a page or two tell of Jos Buchmann acquiring a new past, and others are dreams Felix says his job is an advanced kind of literature I create plots, I invent characters, but rather than keeping them trapped in a book I give them life, launching them into reality.Felix isn t the only one changing the past and creating new futures his teacher was moved by the helplessness of certain words He saw them as down on their luck, abandoned in some desolate place in the language, and he sought to recover them , while his client, Buchmann, comes to believe in his new pastthan Felix thought possible and is told, You invented him and now he s begun to invent himself.IMAGERYThere are some nice images It was as though it were raining night as though falling from the sky were the thick fragments of that sleepy black ocean through which the stars navigate their course , and quirky ideas a castle which had crenelations added to make it look authentic and soon the locals swore it had always had them If it were authentic, no one would believe in it , but the plot meanders until suddenly, the penultimate chapter ties up everything in a mad rush Very unsatisfying.GECKO or CHAMELEON For no very obvious reason, much of this story is told by a gecko, rather than an eponymous chameleon Granted, there are parallels with people living chameleon like lives, but if that s the point, why not have a chameleon narrator maybe it s because Geckos are unique among lizards in their vocalizations , according to Wikipedia More likely, it s a translation problem, albeit a rather prominent one original Portuguese title is O Vendedor de Passados , which means something like Seller of the Past Lies are OK because they are common in nature, What is camouflage, for instance, but a lie Back to chameleons, rather than geckos CONCLUSIONI think it s somewhat pretentious lacking the profundity it seems to crave , the pacing is annoyingly inconsistent slow and apparently aimless most of the time, until a frantic end , and I never understood the point of the gecko We re in Angola after that country won independence from Portugal But even though the fighting is over there is still political upset and people trying to settle old scores There are so many folks who want to run away from their pasts that our main character, an African albino, has a business inventing new past lives for people He ll give you old family photos and biographical sketches of your mother, father, siblings and tell you what your childhood was like Most of the plot in this short b We re in Angola after that country won independence from Portugal But even though the fighting is over there is still political upset and people trying to settle old scores There are so many folks who want to run away from their pasts that our main character, an African albino, has a business inventing new past lives for people He ll give you old family photos and biographical sketches of your mother, father, siblings and tell you what your childhood was like Most of the plot in this short book consists of interactions with the main character s clients and the women he brings home, with some surprises in both departments We learn a little bit of the horrors of the war Splendor of Portugal by Antonio Lobo Antunes, which I reviewed, gives usabout war in Angola And did I say the narrator is a gecko A bit strange but a good read that has won several literary prizes Brief and rather quirky novel set in Angola The narrator is a gecko living in the house of Felix Ventura The gecko is articulate and charming he appears to have been a man in a previous life and he dreams Felix likes the lizard and talks to him Felix is an albino who creates memories and a past for people Come to Felix and he will provide documentation and photographs of grandparents and illustrious ancestors One client in particular really believes in the past he has been given and becom Brief and rather quirky novel set in Angola The narrator is a gecko living in the house of Felix Ventura The gecko is articulate and charming he appears to have been a man in a previous life and he dreams Felix likes the lizard and talks to him Felix is an albino who creates memories and a past for people Come to Felix and he will provide documentation and photographs of grandparents and illustrious ancestors One client in particular really believes in the past he has been given and becomes the person that has been created for him The novel employs magic realism and is at times rather disjointed there is a basic storyline with someone s real past catching up with him There is a love interest and a fair amount of photography.On the whole I enjoyed the novel it is a little slight, but the dream sequences are good and there is one great line spoken to Felix, when young and about to lose his virginity Chastity is a pointless agony kid And one I m happy to fix I think what I do is really an advanced kind of literature, he told me conspiratorially I create plots, I invent characters, but rather than keeping them trapped in a book I give them life, launching them out into reality Jos Eduardo Agualusa, The Book of ChameleonsRecently I ve been reading a lot of books written by African writers and I am impressed by the wide range of subject matter and also the different writing styles I ve encountered I took a break from reading African lit a I think what I do is really an advanced kind of literature, he told me conspiratorially I create plots, I invent characters, but rather than keeping them trapped in a book I give them life, launching them out into reality Jos Eduardo Agualusa, The Book of ChameleonsRecently I ve been reading a lot of books written by African writers and I am impressed by the wide range of subject matter and also the different writing styles I ve encountered I took a break from reading African lit a few years ago because I became so tired of the doom and gloom coming from a continent I know has so muchto offer It s always nice when a book by an African author, or a book set in Africa, dwells on different subject matter.This was an interesting book written by an Angolan author, with a gecko as a narrator, a gecko who had been a man in a previous life The very eloquent gecko lives in the house of Felix Ventura, an albino man who invents people s pasts for them, to the point where they become very believable The gecko sees and hears all, and remembers his past life, which he dreams about He communicates with Felix through his dreams.The book definitely dwells on lies a lot What is real What isn t Literature is the only chance for a true liar to attain any sort of social acceptance Lies, he explained, are everywhere Even nature herself lies What is camouflage, for instance, but a lie The writing style is definitely magical realism with a Latin American feel to it it s a quick, poetic read, not complex at all Despite the fact that it was set in Angola, I didn t learn much about Angola.I wonder why a gecko though What s the significance The only thing I could think of is how geckos are everywhere in Africa My aunt used to tell me that geckos don t care about social class because they can be found in both mansions and mud hut I really wish I knew why a gecko was chosen as narrator Quite a different sort of book, narrated largely by a gecko observing the proceedings from a wall in Felix Ventura s home He views and comments on Felix s visitors, his odd career, his unusual decor and, in return, Felix shares thoughts with him anthropomorphizing totally here about Brazil, Angola, people But then the gecko may have a human past..or did Felix make it up for him as a kindness of sorts This is such an interesting way to present the truths and lies of history, especially in Quite a different sort of book, narrated largely by a gecko observing the proceedings from a wall in Felix Ventura s home He views and comments on Felix s visitors, his odd career, his unusual decor and, in return, Felix shares thoughts with him anthropomorphizing totally here about Brazil, Angola, people But then the gecko may have a human past..or did Felix make it up for him as a kindness of sorts This is such an interesting way to present the truths and lies of history, especially in a country torn by revolt and resistance.It s a fascinating premise, well delivered Reality, such as it is, seen through the eyes of a lizard on the wall of Felix Ventura s home And Felix lives to provide desired back stories for those who come to him seeking a better family history than those life has given Who is real here Even the gecko has a backstory that doesn t involve being an amphibian Very interesting take on the nature of reality.If you have followed me this far, you might indeed enjoy The Book of Chameleons I do recommend you give this a try.Read with Great African Reads Tired of all these novels here with humans as narrators Then try this one for a change It s told by a lizard, specifically a spotted house gecko It was born in, and has never left, this house of an albino who brings home prostitutes sometimes decent women too and who is visited by people needing his unique services This guy, watched by this intrepid lizard narrator all the times, manufactures the past for a living People who pay him for it get new sets of identification papers, personal h Tired of all these novels here with humans as narrators Then try this one for a change It s told by a lizard, specifically a spotted house gecko It was born in, and has never left, this house of an albino who brings home prostitutes sometimes decent women too and who is visited by people needing his unique services This guy, watched by this intrepid lizard narrator all the times, manufactures the past for a living People who pay him for it get new sets of identification papers, personal histories and backgrounds.The lizard can observe, understand what it sees, and relate stories because it was once a man For some reason, after his death, he reincarnated as a house lizard It dreams and remembers Even the albino dreams about it as a man and they have enjoyable discourses.The author is an Angolan, the setting is in Angola, but this was originally written in Portuguese I read it not because it won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize of 2007, but because I like books written by Joses So far I ve read Jose Saramago, Jose Rizal, Jose Luis Peixoto, and now Jose Eduardo Agualusa Soon, I hope to find copies of Memoirs of a Peasant Boy Xose Neira Vilas , Martin Fierro Jose Hernandez and The Crime of Father Amaro Jose Maria Eca de Queiros which author the lizard here saw the albino reading and whose name the latter also mentioned to a lady friend Yes, it really is narrated by a gecko, and a gecko who is a reincarnation of Jorge Luis Borges at that A gecko that laughs And dreams.Maria Helena, my Brazilian friend who recommended it to me, informs me that a gecko in Portuguese is osga Which makes me think of a drum playing, glass shattering inmate of a mental hospital Sorry to ask but could you tell me your name I have no name, I replied quite frankly I am the gecko That s silly No one is a gecko You re right No one s a ge Yes, it really is narrated by a gecko, and a gecko who is a reincarnation of Jorge Luis Borges at that A gecko that laughs And dreams.Maria Helena, my Brazilian friend who recommended it to me, informs me that a gecko in Portuguese is osga Which makes me think of a drum playing, glass shattering inmate of a mental hospital Sorry to ask but could you tell me your name I have no name, I replied quite frankly I am the gecko That s silly No one is a gecko You re right No one s a gecko And you are you really called F lix Ventura Names F lix Ventura happy venture F lix can dream meeting the gecko Or is it the gecko who dreams meeting F lix He has to find him a name Eul lio, because he is so well spoken.This is stylish, and witty, and beguiling A dream like examination of identity and memory and literature But ignore the blurb that calls it as brisk as a thriller , for that it is not There is a murder, but it takes a small while to get there Der Weg ist das Ziel ^Download Pdf ☠ The Book of Chameleons: A Novel ↾ F lix Ventura trades in an unusual commodity he is a dealer in memories, clandestinely selling new pasts to people whose futures are secure and who lack only a good lineage to complete their lives In this completely original murder mystery, where people are not who they seem and the briefest of connections leads to the forging of entirely new histories, a bookish albino, a beautiful woman, a mysterious foreigner, and a witty talking lizard come together to discover the truth of their lives Set in Angola, Agualusa s tale darts from tormented past to dream filled present with a lightness that belies the savage history of a country in which many have something to forget and to hide A brilliant American debut by one of the most lauded writers in the Portuguese speaking world, this is a beautifully written and always surprising tale of race, truth, and the transformative power of creativity