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Le Caméléon

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  263 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Le héros ? Nikolaï, qui retrouve un chef-d'oeuvre de la littérature ukrainienne étrangement annoté. L'auteur de ces annotations ? Il gît au fond d'un cercueil, la carte d'un trésor à ses côtés. Le trésor ? Il se trouverait dans un fort du désert kazakh où un caméléon a pris ses quartiers. Le ressort de l'histoire ? Les nationalismes, encore et toujours. La morale de l'hist ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 286 pages
Published April 17th 2002 by Points (first published 2000)
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Jul 17, 2012 Ray rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
a good book, with some bizarre twists, the earler books are better in my opinion like death and the penguin

i really like kurkovs style of writing, melancholy cynical at times and gently funny - and at times laugh out loud funny
Dec 15, 2012 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kurkov's works have now transcended the borders of the old USSR to such an extent that he must be a candidate for an upcoming Nobel Prize for Literature. This novel is less well known than his Death and the Penguin but is every bit as good, constituting a picaresque journey from his home town Kiev to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and the Russian republics of the Caucasus. Dodgy dealings are very much to the fore as are magic realist fashionings.

The author's lineage is clearly identifiab
Iryna Khomchuk
Можна, я відразу почну прискіпуватися до перекладу назви твору - "Лагідний янгол смерті"? От хіба слова "добрий" та "лагідний" - тотожні? Це синоніми? Чи то перекладач записався у співавтори і з доброго янгола зробив лагідного? Втім, якби перекладач взяв на себе аж таку відповідальність, то йому довелося хоча б вичитати текст після машинного перекладу, бо кілька недоречностей останнього я, навіть із температурою, виловила мимохіть.

Втім, причепитися хочеться до всієї книги. Чому? От уявіть собі,
Guy Salvidge
I read and enjoyed Kurkov's A Matter of Death and Life a couple of years ago. It was a fun read. This, however, is not. What we have here in 380 pages of flat, uninteresting prose. Worse, the story isn't very promising either. I like reading novels set in the former Soviet Union (I liked PU-239 and Other Russian Fantasies by Ken Kalfus. Kurkov is Ukrainian, but it's all the same to me. Okay, the plot. Our protagonist is a bit of an amiable drifter type who digs up someone's grave for also no rea ...more
Eric Barber
It took Amazon three months to get this book to me, and having read the Penguin series I was excited to read something else by Kurkov, and he did not disappoint at all.

Kolya, the narrator, buys a flat and discovers a secret inside a book that was left inside a copy of War and Peace, and it has to do with something very sacred ot Ukrainian Nationalism.

Mysteriously, he must flee the city because the warehouse where he was a night watchmen was being used by drug dealers who were threatening his lif
Jul 20, 2012 Malcolm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not much about the blurb on the back prepares us for the wonder of the book between the covers – a strangely annotated copy of a notebook hidden inside a copy of War and Peace left behind when Kolya buys an apartment from an old couple who are emigrating leads to a mysterious robbery, threatening phone calls and the promise of national treasure. However, Kolya lives in Kiev, and the treasure is buried near a no-longer-existing one-time Russian fort in Kazakhstan. Threatened by who-knows-whom, fo ...more
Johann Guenther
Oct 04, 2012 Johann Guenther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
KURKOW, Andrej: „Petrowitsch“, Zürich 2000
Das bereits im Jahr 2000 vom Ukrainer Kurkow geschrieben Buch ist noch heute, 2012, aktuell. Speziell die Auseinandersetzung mit der Sprache. Wer Russisch und wer Ukrainisch ist. „Der Nationale Geist steht über der nationalen Sprache … Die Sprache ist nur das äußere Zeichen einer Nationalität … Wenn man die Sprache zum wichtigsten Faktor des nationalen Geistes macht, dann würde sie ein Instrument zur Aussonderung, es käme zu einer modernen Inquisition.“
Jul 16, 2012 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Good Angel Of Death by Andrey Kurkov (vintage)

This was a random buy in a bookshopo as I liked the cover and the blurb on the back sold it to me. I'm very glad I took the chance as this is a superb book and makes me want to find more of Kurkov's novels.
This book is about Kolya who moves into a new flat in Kiev where the last resident has left a bookshelf of books behind. When Kolya opens the big version of Crime And Punishment he finds another book hidden inside a copy of The Kobza Player by
Feb 21, 2010 Olivia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh! Another book I'd give 3.5 stars to, if possible. This time because I did like it, but don't actually think it is that good. Insofar as it is a relatively unique book on the experience of being a post-Soviet Man (i.e., the Soviet Man - see, e.g., ... hm actually that is not a very useful link but whatever), it was interesting. The translation is okay, but not awesome - you know you're reading a translated book. But it's about an ethnic Russian in Ukra ...more
Mar 21, 2013 Luis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This seems to be a real leap forward in Kurkov's writing style, gone is the sparse and laconic Hemingway-like prose of Death and the penguin and others to be replaced by a more detailed at times elegiac style, Maybe this is just a necessity to capture the grand sweep of the events described here. A surreal journey of discovery from Kiev to the Caspian sea, wanders in a desert and meetings with strange pilgrims along the way.
When talking about Kurkov, reviewers frequently mention Gogol and Dosto
Peter Kobryn
Nov 16, 2015 Peter Kobryn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ukraine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Defrog
Kolya, a night watchman in Kiev moves into a new flat and discovers an annotated manuscript hidden inside a copy of War And Peace. One thing leads to another, and Kolya ends up on an epic journey to Kazakhstan in search of a national treasure buried by a Ukrainian war hero and poet, during which he acquires a wife and a chameleon, and encounters revolutionaries, ex-KGB spies and smugglers. This being Kurkov, it’s not an action-packed thriller so much as wry, laid-back political satire with a lot ...more
Jan 04, 2016 Tommy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in translation so not going to go into the writing too harshly. The flow of the story could be ponderous at times and many aspects of the story fell flat. In a way though these aspects at times seemed to mirror the aimlessness of the protagonist.

This main character certainly straddles the post-soviet world while looking back and referencing occupied times. The main story arch is a Quixote-like farcical quest filled in with far away places, superstition, revolutionaries and secret police.

Parrish Lantern
Oct 10, 2010 Parrish Lantern rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Good Angel of Death

Andrey Kurkov

Have you heard the one about the Russian, the Kazakh & the ex KGB officer? No. How about the one about a Bedouin, a Ukrainian & a Chameleon, still no? Then let me introduce you to Andrey Kurkov's "The Good Angel of Death.

This is the story of Kolya, a Russian night-watchman, who, whilst moving into a new flat in Kiev discovers a book (covered with marginalia), hidden in a copy of War and Peace. This awakens his curiosity & he sets out to discover m
It started off so wonderfully, but I ended up not having a clue what he was trying to say.
Jul 24, 2011 Torsten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Die Hauptperson Kolja gerät in die haarsträubendsten Abenteuer, die nur der postsowjetische (Nicht-)Alltag bieten kann... Ob er als Nachtwächter ein Drogenlager bewacht, auf einer schwimmenden Fischfabrik in den Armen einer russischen Matrone einen Sturm auf dem kaspischen Meer übersteht, nach einem Drogenrausch in der Wüste von einem Kasachen gerettet und dessen Tochter geschenkt wird, und so weiter... Nach dem Penguin Mischa schafft Kurkow wieder eine anrührende Tiergestalt: das Chameläon Petr ...more
William Durkee
I really loved it. Its a modern adventure, set in a part of the world I dont know at all.
The main character reminds me of the big Lebowski, ala Kiev. There are mobsters, ultranationalists, Kazahkstani nomads, KGB men, smugglers and assorted other fringers. I liked the love story, the lizard, and the Kazakh tales. Its quite a web. Well done.
Oct 04, 2015 J.T. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ergh, russia, cultural, ukraine
Admittedly, I had a hard time getting through this book. The prose is just bland and the plot just uninteresting. The main character is a friendly drifter, but there didn't seem to be much more to him. Seeing that this is the third Kurkov book I have given three stars or less, I will probably not be returning to this author.
Aug 21, 2013 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyable enough - not a bad book by any means - but compared to Death & The Penguin by the same author (the only other book of his I've read) it seemed like a real let-down, although I'm not sure whether that was to do with the two books having different translators...
Dec 03, 2015 Zanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated
This spare, original narrative thrives on incident and coincidence, and sweeps into its wake an odd assortment of cultural heritage. The characters are lively, but lack depth, particularly the meek women.
Feb 21, 2015 Samantha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, this Kurkov book took me over a year to read, but it was totally worth it. His books always make me think even after I'm done reading them, unlike others that I read and then forget.
Jun 03, 2013 Menna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing. The first few chapters are typical Kurkov: exciting, confusing, humorous and intriguing, but the novel quickly lacks pace and, if I'm honest, it lost my interest too.
Aaron Kent
Nov 12, 2011 Aaron Kent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I love Kurkov's books. I don't always know exactly what's going on in them, and I'm too ignorant about politics to pick up all the satire but regardless, they are great reads.
Description: When Kolya moves into a new flat in Kiev, he finds a book hidden within a volume of 'War and Peace'. His investigations take him to a graveyard, and more specifically to the coffin of a Ukrainian nationalist who died in mysterious circumstances and was buried with a sealed letter and a manuscript.

Armed only with three cases of baby milk, which have unexpected hallucinogenic properties, he sets off on what turns out to be a very bizarre journey, meeting a host of unlikely characters
Saul Mcintyre
An odd mix of dark satire, love, National Spirit, guns, tinned fish and a chameleon spirit guide. Very Russian, very Karkov, very good!
Barbara Duvoisin
source: FT review (oct09) by John Thornhill. trust his judgment. journey across kazakh.
May 20, 2012 Alain added it
R?cit un peu trop plat et monotone. Moins original et attractif que Le Pingouin.
Tansy E
May 29, 2012 Tansy E rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very well paced.
Slavica Petrović
Slavica Petrović marked it as to-read
Jul 14, 2016
Tia Williams
Tia Williams marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2016
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Ukrainian writer writing in Russian. He was born in small town Budogoszcz in Leningrad area. In 1983 in Kiev he graduated Kiev Pedagogical Academy of Foreign Languages. He started writing in age of six and he had a hobby of collecting cactuses - he collected nearly 1,500 of them. Ambitiously he wanted to learn their latin names. Thanks to that he had learned such languages such as English, French, ...more
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