An inventive and witty debut about a young man's quest to become a writer and the misadventures in life and love that take him around the globe
From as early as he can remember, the hopelessly unreliable, yet hopelessly earnest, narrator of this ambitious debut novel has wanted to become a writer.
From the jazz clubs of Manhattan to the villages of Sri Lanka, Kristopher Jansma's irresistible narrator will be inspired and haunted by the success of his greatest friend and rival in writing, the eccentric and brilliantly talented Julian McGann, and endlessly enamored with Julian's enchanting friend, Evelyn, the green-eyed girl who got away. After the trio has a disastrous falling out, desperate to tell the truth in his writing and to figure out who he really is, Jansma's narrator finds himself caught in a never-ending web of lies.
As much a story about a young man and his friends trying to make their way in the world as a profoundly affecting exploration of the nature of truth and storytelling, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards will appeal to readers of Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists and Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad with its elegantly constructed exploration of the stories we tell to find out who we really are.
A Note from BookBrowse: The "Author's Note" reproduced below is not, as it first looks, a message from the author of the The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards but instead the opening chapter of the novel itself, written from the point of view of the book's fictional narrator.
The truth is beautiful. Without doubt; and so are lies.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
I've lost every book I've ever written. I lost the first one here in Terminal B, where I became a writer, twenty-eight years ago, in the after-school hours and on vacations while I waited for my mother to return from doling out honey-roasted peanuts at eighteen thousand feet.
I used to sit very quietly, right here, at Phil's Coffee Hub, under the watchful eye of Ms. Barlow, or bellied-up to the Formica countertop of W. W. Gould's Good Eats with Mrs. De Santos, or on a small stool inside the cramped Jewels, Jewels, Jewels! kiosk with Mrs. Nederhoffer. Now these people are all gone and I'm as old as...
Kristopher Jansma's novel is a debut that shouldn't be missed. Readers who delight in high quality writing and who enjoy unusually structured novels will find this one a real gem, and I find myself eagerly looking forward to Jansma's next effort.
(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).
Full Review (1088 words).
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 conscientious and less lazy writer would have put in the waste basket."
William Faulkner was also critical of Hemingway....
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