Monday, January 2, 2012

The Seller of Pasts (The book of Chameleons)

Voilá a new book review in the "Books for travelling" category. However superficial it might sound I bought this book, because of its title which is "The Seller of Pasts" (Múltkereskedő in Hungarian).

A short description about the author, José Eduardo Agualusa, from the front cover of the book "...he can capture a life or expand a drama in 3 sentences, yet he wants and dares to be slow..."

What is it about?: Felix Ventura is an albino who makes his living by "selling pasts" to the new elite of Angola. People visit him and in exchange for their money he creates a glorious past and through this a new identity for them. What does his package contain? Nice stories about the interesting life of their imaginary ancestors and some yellowed photographs with noble old ladies and gentlemen on them what they can show to their new friends. People visit him and in couple of days he sets up a portfolio of a past what even the clients themselves believe as their real family story.

Things get complicated when one day a photojournalist walks in to Ventura`s office who does not only want the past, but a whole new identity...

Reading this books raises many interesting questions. If you create a new past for someone is it not changing his/her present personality too? Is it really so easy to get a new identity? What is our identity at all? etc.

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