There’s nothing like experiencing familiar life experiences in a book. While set in Rhodesia and with a white protagonist and mainly white and black characters,
I didn’t exactly see myself, as a coloured (mixed-raced, Cape Malay) Muslim woman, but I saw myself in the South African influence, the words like braaing and koeksisters and umfana and phrases like magie vol, ogies toe (tummies full, eyes closed), it made me feel at home.
For the most part, nothing much happens.
The books follows Rory on his day to day life at boarding school but also makes subtle hints at the rising tension within Rhodesia, the coming civil war and the racial injustice in South Africa.
The Chameleon is story packed full of heritage, rich history, familial bonds, friendship and a coming of age journey of one young man. It definitely has that literary vibe and what I’m sure the Pulitzer Prize people look for in a book.
A brilliant debut.