Summerbook #7: The Book of Chameleons

The Book of Chameleons, by Jose Eduardo Agualusa

This is an Angolan novel, originally written in Portuguese.  I was intrigued by the premise, and also I like chameleons, but there are no actual chameleons in this story.  There's a gecko though, and I also like geckos.

Félix Ventura sells genealogy.  If you have some money, but no family background, Ventura will fix up a nice respectable -- even illustrious -- family history for you.  His story is narrated by the gecko who lives on his walls (who is also the reincarnation of Jorge Luis Borges).  Ventura has sold quite a few new histories, and a couple of them are going to meet in interesting new ways to illuminate a murder mystery gone cold, while the gecko gains the name of Eulalio and has visionary dreams.

I liked this novel pretty well, though I won't claim to have understood the whole thing.  It seemed very dreamlike to me, even the parts that were not dreams.  It's also very short.  I would read another Agualusa if I came upon one that looked interesting.

Comments

  1. Oh, I need to read this! I read another book by this author and liked it a lot -- A General Theory of Oblivion? I expected it to be really dark, and it was a little bit in some ways I guess? But ultimately I found it just really hopeful and really great. I'm adding this one to my list!

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