The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards: Summary and book reviews of The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma, plus links to an excerpt from The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards and a biography of Kristopher Jansma.
The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards
by Kristopher Jansma
Hardcover: Mar 2013,
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.
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).
A self-referential first novel about truth, plagiarism, identity and writer's block . . . Jansma has a ways to go before he can master postmodern technique.
Jansma's characters deftly explore the blurred lines between fact and fiction, discovering the shades of truth that lie in between.
Jansma explores how events are shaped into a work of fiction while also showing how we weave the reality of our lives into our own personal narratives. Ultimately, he's concerned with discovering the truth ofthe self that lies both within and beneath that narrative. A smart, searching debut about art and identity.
Starred Review. Canny, seductive and utterly transfixing...A first novel with the strength and agility of a great cat leaping through rings of fire.
Darin Strauss, author of More Than It Hurts You The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards is my new exhibit A for the defense of literary fiction. A great read -- a must read. Kristopher Jasma is more than the real-deal. He's made himself, with this book, essential.
Stewart O'Nan, author of Last Night at the Lobster
Light and airy, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards is a funhouse of a novel about the outsized ambitions of authors and the sneaky power of storytelling. Kristopher Jansma's debut is a whimsical round-the-world tour that recalls Calvino, Millhauser and The Confidence Man.
Mira Bartok, author of The Memory Palace, winner of the National Book Critic's Circle Award
Behold The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards: an eloquent, witty, and inventive debut novel about a promising young writer's persistent quest to reinvent himself. Kristopher Jansma masterfully explores the ways in which we lie in order to grasp the most inexplicable truths in art, life, and love. The protagonist is a trickster-artist and con artist alike; he is Houdini, Tom Ripleyand Hemingway rolled into one. But despite his web of lies, we can't help but root for him all the way to the end. The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards is a tour de force - a nest of Russian dolls, with stories within stories, each tale bringing us a little closer to some glimmer of the truth.
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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."
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