Kristopher Jansma's debut novel, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards
, is an entertaining work of metafiction that explores the boundaries between truth and fiction in storytelling.
Our narrator is a man who has wanted to be a writer since childhood. His determination is solidified in college when he meets the wealthy and talented writing student Julian McGann, and Julian's lifelong friend Evelyn. He develops a deep and lasting friendship with them, and Jansma recounts their interactions and growing reliance on each other using a series of interwoven stories to shed light on their relationships.
A main focus of the plot is the narrator's attempt to write just one perfect novel that will equal or surpass Julian's. Throughout Leopards
readers are given pieces of this work-in-progress to peruse during various stages of the...
Beyond the Book
When famous figures spar, their words become part of the public record, particularly when those quarrelling are popular writers.
Ernest Hemingway, for example, was notorious for his antagonistic relationship with many of his contemporaries. While once close, he had a disagreement with his mentor Gertrude Stein over their differing opinions of Sherwood Anderson's works. As the friendship deteriorated, Stein published an unflattering portrait of Hemingway in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
. Hemingway countered with A Moveable Feast
, in which he criticized Stein's writing for its use of "repetitions that a more...