Chameleon Days by Tim Bascom
An American Boyhood in Ethiopia

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Synopsis

In 1964, at the age of three, Tim Bascom is thrust into a world of eucalyptus trees and stampeding baboons when his family moves from the Midwest to Ethiopia. The unflinchingly observant narrator of this memoir reveals his missionary parents’ struggles in a sometimes hostile country. Sent reluctantly to boarding school in the capital, young Tim finds that beyond the gates enclosing that peculiar, isolated world, conflict roils Ethiopian society. When secret riot drills at school are followed with an attack by rampaging students near his parents' mission station, Tim witnesses the disintegration of his family’s African idyll as Haile Selassie’s empire begins to crumble.

Like Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Chameleon Days chronicles social upheaval through the keen yet naive eyes of a child. Bascom offers readers a fascinating glimpse of missionary life, much as Barbara Kingsolver did in The Poisonwood Bible.
 

About Tim Bascom

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TIM BASCOM spent much of his childhood in Ethiopia, where his father, adoctor, worked in mission hospitals. A graduate of the Nonfiction WritingProgram at the University of Iowa, he has been published in The Best American Travel Writing. He lives in Newton, Iowa, with his wife and two sons.
 
Published June 14, 2006 by Mariner Books. 255 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel. Non-fiction

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As the memoir progresses, Ethiopian society unfolds before him: He eats injera and wat in a gathering with the Lion of Judah himself, Emperor Haile Selassie, races his beloved horse against a mule belonging to a native missionary and takes cover in the school basement as university students riot.

Jun 14 2006 | Read Full Review of Chameleon Days: An American B...

Entertainment Weekly

In the acknowledgments to this book about being raised by missionary parents in 1960s Ethiopia, Tim Bascom writes: ''Memory is shaped by perception.

Jun 09 2006 | Read Full Review of Chameleon Days: An American B...

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