By Fox Benwell
Published September 19, 2017
“Kaleidoscope Song” is a book that leaves something intangible behind with the reader. This lyrical bildungsroman is the tale of teenager Neo’s journey from an innocent, sheltered girl to an outspoken, unapologetic young woman. Her love of music leads her to encounter Tale, the female lead singer in a local band in their city of Cape Town, South Africa. Tangled in a love of music, the two young women develop a love for each other that, while not outlawed, is not accepted in their small community.
Just as Tale and her band start to grow in popularity, Neo lands her dream job working at a well-known radio station. Their surreal relationship collides with reality, leaving the two of them watching from the place of ‘what might be’ instead of ‘what is’. Neo learns, alongside the reader, that using her authentic voice is often harder than anticipated and that there are always consequences.
Fox Benwell delivers a haunting story of a girl deciding who she wants to be. He explores what it means to truly use your voice; the practice of corrective rape; and how music can pull people together.
This book, with Benwell’s cacophony of melodic language, is for the lovers. It’s for the people who are lost. It’s for those who are still trying to find themselves. It’s written by someone who knows what it means to not fit into the predestined tracks that have been laid out. This narrative is for those that dream about making change. It’s for the adventurers who want to see the world for what it really is, not what it’s supposed to be.
Based on the book’s present themes of LGBTQ+ representation and community, the author has decided to donate a portion of the sales to benefit Free Gender, a blog by a group of fourteen young black, queer, South Africans living in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The group focuses on achieving justice for LGBTQ+ victims of of targeted violence.