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The Book of Chameleons

On sale

13th October 2022

Price: £9.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529426489

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Ingenious, consistently taut and witty’ TLS

‘Humorous and quizzical, with a light touch on weighty themes, the narrative darts about with lizard-like colour and velocity’ Independent

‘Strange, elliptical, charming’ Guardian

‘A poetic, beguiling meditation on truth and storytelling . . . from the dreamscapes of magical realism to a gripping political thriller and even a murder mystery’ New Internationalist

Félix Ventura trades in memories, a slippery character selling new pasts to people whose bright futures lack only a good lineage, and wiping clean the slate of their identity.

In a narrative that darts between past and present Angola, a bookish albino man, a beautiful woman, a mysterious foreigner and a witty talking lizard come together to discover their real origins. For theirs is a world where the truth seems to shift from moment to moment and where history itself is up for grabs . . .


‘A work of fierce originality’ Independent

‘Without doubt one of the most important Portuguese-language writers of his generation’ ANTÓNIO LOBO ANTUNES

‘Cross J. M. Coetzee with Gabriel García Márquez and you’ve got José Eduardo Agualusa’

Translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn


Amanda Hopkinson, Independent
Fierce originality, vindicating the power of creativity to transform the most sinister acts. Not since Gregor Samsa's metamorphosis have we had such a convincing non-human narrator, brought vividly home to us by Daniel Hahn
Strange, elliptical, charming
Boyd Tonkin, Independent
Humorous and quizzical, with a light touch on weighty themes, the narrative darts about with lizard-like colour and velocity
Witty and perceptive. Agualusa has the distinction of being the first Angolan writer to be translated into English
A curious tale of memory and how it can be shaped, threaded with literary nods, where dreams and reality interweave, and reality itself is interpreted in myriad ways . . . with truths shifting against a vividly drawn sense of place
margaret jull costa
A magical tale of metamorphosis, friendship and revenge. Hahn's English translation matches the original's playful inventiveness with language. I loved this book.
Kirkus Review
A subtle, beguiling story of shifting identities
New Internationalist
A poetic, beguiling meditation on truth and storytelling, a political thriller and a wholly satisfying murder mystery.
Publishers Weekly
Lovers of stylish literary fiction will rejoice at this charming tale by Angolan writer Agualusa