Review by author Soulla Christodoulou

This story will stay with me for a long time.

An absolute epic story which spans the life of Rory from childhood and into adulthood.

This is a fictional memoir but the characters and their relationships are real, they speak to you and their issues are hard-hitting.

This is an emotionally charged story and though the pace and flow of the story at times feels a little unbalanced, and perhaps overwritten, moments of historical importance are explored sensitively and the writing is heartfelt.

Loved the friendship between

Themba and Rory; quiet conversations, letters and heartfelt confidences.

Thank you David… a thought-provoking read.

Gift Ideas – Avoid the rush

‘A lucid, intriguing, excellent story. It’s different … and that’s important.’ – Author Norman Bilbrough

The Chameleon is the tale of Rorke Wilde, who grows up in Rhodesia. Rorke’s need to mimic his pet chameleon, if he is to survive the racial discourse in a country divided by apartheid during the 1970s.

Rorke’s father works in the British South Africa Police while his mother is a clerk in the tax office. His best friend and father figure is the family’s domestic worker, Themba Dube, an AmaNdebele of Zulu descent. Whom guides Rorke through the turmoil of civil bias.

Themba introduces Rorke to his nephew Lucky Ndlovu, who lost his parents in the AIDS pandemic and who lives with his grandmother in a squatter camp (informal settlements) in Johannesburg.

The old man and boy share their experiences of a life of poverty post-independence where Rorke learns about the real Africa that he once saw through Panglossian glasses.

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The Chameleon reviewed by Barry Hemans

Skilfully written!

This is a beautifully written book.

It has great flow that comes from highly efficient writing that makes it easy to read.

Combined with riveting content, it was hard for me to put down and I read it twice in quick succession.

If I was to choose a word to describe all the issues touched on by this book it would be ‘inequality’.

Farrell is obviously a man with integrity and conscience that provides the driving force for a cathartic discussion of these inequalities and how he coped with them in honest, emotional writing.

I should know, I grew up with him in Wankie and Plumtree!

Signed Copies – Christmas

Early call to pick up a personalised signed copy of The Chameleon in time Christmas.

Publishers, seaports and transport businesses will be under enormous strain this year.

Contact me on dave(at)davidmfarrell.com for details.

Or

Order online on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Takealot, etc.

NZ Booklovers Review

Occasionally, when you review books regularly, there comes a time when you stumble across a gem that is almost entirely unexpected. Such is the case with David Farrell’s The Chameleon. Filled with luxurious prose that rivals some of the modern classics, Farrell constructs a visceral world for the reader to immerse themselves. It’s a world that is foreign to most kiwis, but is so well crafted that it really is an experience in and of itself.

Farrell tells the story of Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe – centred on the young male protagonist of Rorke Wilde. It chronicles the events of his life growing up in the pre-independence. It is a challenging time for the country. Split apart by the apartheid and witness to racial descrimination consistently, Rorke befriends one of the more unlikely of companions, Themba – the family’s worker.

One can’t help but think of the work of Rudyard Kipling in the prose. It is a lyrical exploration of South Africa and Rhodesia as Rorke navigates the world of AIDS, squatter camps, prejudice, poverty and greed. Hardly the topics of such linguistic dexterity, but Farrell seems to have the Midas touch with the subject matter.

No doubt there are many books similar in premise to the atrocities of apartheid and life in Southern Africa during this time. Kipling of course was not a native but wrote with the depth of love of one who was an ushered in an era pioneering the likes of Courtenay, Paton, Fugard and Coetzee.

The tropes of the notorious English boarding school discipline, and the exotic explanations of the beauty found in the African setting shine through, but with new life as Farrell embeds the images into the narrative so seamlessly.

As a true Bildungsroman plot, the phase of life for young Rorke gives the reader the slow drip of a life lived in and amongst such harsh conditions of those rough years of the 1970s in Rhodesia.

Overall, the novel brims with wonderfully rich prose and descriptions that employ Farrell’s significant array of literary techniques with skill. This piece is headed for awards, without question. It’s a highly recommended read of the season. Its sadness is immense and raw – yes hauntingly beautiful. I loved it.

Reviewer: Chris Reed

Kingsley Publishers

Virtual Book Tour

Virtual Book Tour Alert

Coming soon is the #virtualbooktour for The Chameleon by David Farrell

17th – 25th Oct

Genre: Literary Fiction / Historical Fiction

Blurb

The Chameleon is the tale of Rorke Wilde, who grows up in Rhodesia. Rorke’s need to mimic his pet chameleon, if he is to survive the racial discourse in a country divided by apartheid during the 1970s.

Rorke’s father works in the British South Africa Police while his mother is a clerk in the tax office. His best friend and father figure is the family’s domestic worker, Themba Dube, an AmaNdebele of Zulu descent. Whom guides Rorke through the turmoil of civil bias.

Themba introduces Rorke to his nephew Lucky Ndlovu, who lost his parents in the AIDS pandemic and who lives with his grandmother in a squatter camp (informal settlements) in Johannesburg.

The old man and boy share their experiences of a life of poverty post-independence where Rorke learns about the real Africa that he once saw through Panglossian glasses.

Aisha Rowbottom-Isaacs’s review

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.

Congratulations, David.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22412477.David_Farrell

Goodreads Review (Justine Gilbert)

There’s a touch of Kipling in this book. The real Kipling, not Disney. It is a fascinating but long tale told through the eyes of Rorke Wilde. I have known people born and brought up in Africa, who endured the brutality of colonial English boarding schools. In their early years, these first generation white Africans were cared for by local black help, learning local languages and customs. As the globe changed, their families were forced to move away, many to England, but the African born generation didn’t identify with Britishness: they identified with African lands and dreamt of African sunrises. When, as adults, they tried to return to countries changed from white to black rule, they found themselves outcasts – the offspring of an oppressive white rule.

This, then, is the tale of The Chameleon: a very real history for many white people born into a dying community who grew up to become refugees, with British passports. They didn’t hanker after colonialism. Far from it. As children, they saw the unfairness with which the local population was treated, and wanted to side with the local families who had shown them kindness. David Farrell mentions how Mandela tried to sort the problem with ‘a rainbow country’, but in the final analysis, human beings are tribal, and such hurdles are high.
A very interesting book, putting across a point of view that is rarely expressed. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4751120188?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Goodreads Review (Taryn Leigh)

Now this is what I call an award winning masterpiece of literary fiction!

This book is so well written that I could feel and sense the characters as if they were real people. There was depth to who Rorke and Themba are, the journey they embark on and how it shaped their future.

Their friendship was portrayed so honestly and deeply, with a gentle approach to the tough subject matters of Diversity, Inclusion, and Discrimination.

I loved how difficult issues were addressed, like poverty and racial tension. This story is a phenomenal demonstration of the opportunities that generational wealth can bring compared to someone who is living hand to mouth, waiting for a government who is ‘for the people’ to uplift them.

The narrative was written with grace and eloquence. One I have not forgotten since reading it. As a citizen of the ‘New South Africa, Rainbow Nation’, I hear Themba and Rorke’s stories every day and feel like both narratives were so beautifully written in this book.

If you’re looking for a story with depth, that will pull at your heart and imprint your thoughts, then this book is highly recommended!