Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Karma Chameleon

The Independent Foreign Fiction award this year has been won by Angolan José Eduardo Agualusa for The Book of Chameleons. The £10,000 prize money will be shared by the author and Daniel Hahn who translated the novel from the Portuguese.

According to Boyd Tonkin in the Independent:
The novel mixes comedy, tragedy and touches of fantasy as it explores the recent history of the former Portuguese colony, whose independence in 1975 was followed by more than 20 years of bloody civil war.

Its hero, an albino African called Felix Ventura, works as a "genealogist" who fabricates a "better past" for ambitious clients haunted by previous traumas. He shares his adventures, memories and dreams with the novel's narrator: a gecko who observes the action from the walls of Felix's house.
One of this year's judges, David Constantine, describes the novel as:
... a beautiful fiction. It has grace, agility, wit, a lovely inventiveness.

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