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But the floral musk of vanilla and almonds remains the most reliable: the bouquet of rot and decay occasioned by the slow degradation of my pages. Fisher has some fun with his concept, imagining life as a book, for example: I hate toast, I really do. Like a stone in your shoe. In a brief novel, Fisher covers a lot of ground. In his non-linear narrative John explains how we came to self-awareness, and how his world operates changing form in order to tempt humans to pick him or to discard him as suits his purpose and also reflecting on some of his past owners, including Nathan Rothschild and Graham Alexander Bell.

This is, unsurprisingly, a book soaked in literature and echoes, and both direct and free quotation of other novels.

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One of John's explicit inspirations is Virginia Woolf's equally long-lived and chameleon Orlando : She is a character I can sympathise with. As time gallops forward, Orlando canters behind; while those around her are born, live, grow old and die, she passes them by. And always, under her doublet or shirt or bodice or corset or blouse - whatever the fashion of the day, or her gender that day, calls for - she carries a manuscript.


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Another is Borges's The Library of Babel , which to John feels like an autobiography written by a future version of myself. The Borges comparison does invite a slightly unfair comparison from the reader. Borges and Kafka were able to take a brilliant concept - a library that contained all books, an author who rewrites Don Quixote in his own but identical version, a man who wakes up as an insect, a machine that carves the violated law into the condemned prisoner's skin - and turn them into brilliant and canonical short stories.

It is rather unfair to expect anyone else to be in their league, and Fisher, having developed the wonderful concept of a self-aware book, doesn't entirely see it through. But instead he takes the novel in a different, and equally compelling direction, as John; lying by his current, elderly, owner Roger's death-bed, in Roger's mother's old house and accompanied by Roger's daughter and grand-daughter, narrates Roger's life story, a story framed by two deaths, one in Soviet Russia in a scene borrowed explicitly from Frances Spufford's brilliant Red Plenty: Inside the Fifties' Soviet Dream and the other of Roger himself.

While at times the link to John's story seems a little tangential sometimes it is as if Fisher has to remember that it's a book talking and justify John's knowledge of events - e. View 2 comments. Apr 15, Alan Teder rated it liked it Shelves: reading-challenge , books-about-books , historical-fiction. There is a lot of curious trivia here but the end result is so all-over-the-place it is hard to see what sort of reader will be completely satisfied.

A novel with a narrator who is an year-old transmutable book seems like a set up for a voyage through an almost millennium-length view of history. Instead the story mostly centres on the late 20th century life and Cold-War career of a British spy named Roger and occasionally his wife Margery as viewed by "John" the book. I There is a lot of curious trivia here but the end result is so all-over-the-place it is hard to see what sort of reader will be completely satisfied. It is especially tempting to interpret the use of a detail from the painting "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" from the school of Pieter Bruegel the Elder as a metaphor for the novel.

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In the painting, a ploughman shown in the book cover detail is the main character in the foreground and the actual drowning of Icarus from falling into the sea is a small detail in the background not even shown on the book cover. Roger's mostly mundane life is thus in the foreground of the novel and the imagined epic life of "John" the book is mostly left in the background. There are some intriguing snapshots of "John's" history such as when it has an encounter with another example of its species. That seems to set up the possibility of a non-bibliographic interpretation with the idea of an alien species at the forefront.

Chameleon (disambiguation)

That idea is never explored though. There is an odd digression with an almost blow by blow description of an historic chess match as played by Thomas Bowdler yes, the one who published the censored Shakespeare vs. Henry Seymour Conway as replayed by Roger with one of his Russian contacts. The historic game itself can be viewed here. All of it is a curiosity that likely won't completely satisfy fans of epic historical fiction, spy fiction, science fiction, or of chess games but will at least intrigue each of them to some degree.

Jul 10, Terry Pearce rated it really liked it. This book has one hell of a conceit, and anything that weird, I'm a interested, and b skeptical. He pulls it off. Through careul, thoughtful writing, surprising developments of the idea, and a thread of meaning running through it, the whole thing comes off as incredibly ungimmicky, and in fact humane and full of depth.

Great stuff. May 28, James rated it really liked it. A challenging premise, but one that soon blossoms into a moving tale of family, loss, and love, with some cold war espionage and chess thrown in for good measure. A refreshingly original novel. May 01, Ian rated it it was amazing. Maybe wears its influences a little heavily on its sleeve but is otherwise very fine indeed. The plot of this novel is mainly a suitably convoluted cold war spy story. What makes it worth reading is the narration by a sentient, mutating book, the interesting and often humorous snippets from its earlier incarnations and the quality of the writing.

Nov 29, Sofiejb rated it it was amazing. True originality is a rare thing for us humans. To come up with an idea that is unlike anything anyone else has thought. Of course you can never know if anyone else has had an idea previous to you. However, I think Samuel Fisher comes pretty close to something extraordinary and unique with The Chameleon. It is not like anything I have read before, which is ironic since the book also contains every book that has or will be written. I was so fascinated I had to give this book my first five star-re True originality is a rare thing for us humans.

I was so fascinated I had to give this book my first five star-review on this blog! Our protagonist is the sentient written word. He can take the form of any written word; vellum manuscript, erotica, hardback classics, a shopping list, he can manifest as whatever form of writing he chooses. But although he can deliberately become any form of literature, he is not very mobile and depends on others for manifestation. That being said his existence is not ubiquitous; he needs a person to pick him up on the bus, to put him on their bookshelves or sell him in a bookstore.

Through his numerous owners he observes human life, and he has been doing this for years now. He has been the sole companion of an anchoress and late night reading material of Nathan Rothschild. And so the plot of the book is not told in a chronological order.

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Which makes perfect sense, story-telling is after all eternal. I can, hand on my hart, say that I have never encountered a point of view character like this previously. When we meet the protagonist he has spent the last 60 years in the possession of Roger. Although our book has belong to a number of extraordinary persons over the years it is the moderately intelligent and pretty unassuming Roger that has become his great love.

We first meet Roger on his death bed as an old man, but the book also presents us to Roger as a horny teenager, a cold-war spy and as a husband and parent. Jul 05, Jennifer rated it really liked it Shelves: favorites , uk. The Topic Card is Food. The dealer rolled 3 on the yellow die and 6 on the blue die. On your Code Card this roll points to A4.

A4 on the Topic Card points to the secret word for the round — Chicken. Starting with the dealer, each player including the Chameleon takes it in turns to say one word related to Chicken. Take a few moments to think of your word. When ready, each player says their word without hesitation or interruption, moving clockwise around the table. If another player says the word you were going to say, you can repeat it.

Choose wisely! If your word is too obvious, the Chameleon might catch on and figure out the secret word.

After a few minutes, everyone votes by pointing at the person they think is the Chameleon. The Chameleon can still take a guess at the secret word.


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  • If they get it right, they escape. The Chameleon for that round is now the dealer for the next. After Marnie Watson kills her abusive husband in self-defense, she is condemned to house arrest A thriller that follows two siblings who decide to fend for themselves in the wake of a botched casino heist, and their unlikely reunion during another family's Thanksgiving celebration. Ville, 25, is a downbeat former child star who's successfully avoided his womanizing rock 'n' roll dad for years.

    Everything changes when his dad moves into his flat and they both fall in love with the same American line-dancing teacher. When terrorists seize control of an airliner, an intelligence analyst accompanies a commando unit for a midair boarding operation. A serial killer begins to spiral totally out of control as three women interact with him in very different ways.

    The drama follows a twelve-year-old girl's struggle to come to terms with her mother's abandonment. An aging fighter Dominic Purcell in search of redemption steps into the ring with a hungry young pugilist Izaak Smith with something to prove in this boxing drama featuring James Caan Despite a returning Marine's mundane reality, his haunting wartime past shepherds him into a magical and destructive new existence to expose his ultimate truth.

    Joshua Lazarus has a special gift -- but will this gift destroy him before he can escape to freedom with his newly found soul mate? Based on a true story, this film looks at what happens when a serial impostor in Europe passes himself off as a missing boy from Texas. The missing boy's family welcomes him as their son, but the FBI quickly realizes something is amiss.

    Does the family's eagerness to accept the impostor mean they are just happy to have their loved one back, or are they trying to hide a more sinister event - perhaps what happened to their boy? But even more - who is this impostor who has talked his way into the United States and a family's home?

    Written by Meredith P. We can never be sure about dramatised true stories because tricks are played on our memories even as we try to retell with accuracy. This story of a character who is unlikely to be who he claims to be from the start is as much about doubts as it is about rebuilding hopes. From the opening shots of a body hunt through to the final frames this film attempts to tackle the driving forces of all the characters who make up the plot by showing up flaws and how all of us are sometimes drawn to papering over cracks in our thoughts.

    Perhaps a clumsy unevenness in the screenplay sometimes makes following the story a little less taut than it should be, but I could not fault the quality of the acting.

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    Even a family torn apart by an undisclosed tragedy seem very adept at keeping things as they are when redemption is a possibility but the actual interaction between them is not well rehearsed in this script. Too much focus is perhaps played on the mother's relationship with her "son" when there was perhaps a lot of mileage elsewhere. I would guess many people would want a more commercial ending to a film like this and that has probably detracted from it popularity since it does stick to events as they happened but for me the real let down, having such a great cast, was a failure to grasp the real guts of the story and perhaps reveal a little more of what really may have happened.

    Seven out of ten for acting from a fine cast.