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The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards: A Novel (edition 2013)

by Kristopher Jansma

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1701469,943 (4.03)4
Member:ltcl
Title:The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards: A Novel
Authors:Kristopher Jansma
Info:Viking Adult (2013), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:kim debut authors arc

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The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
The series of vignettes raises many questions while grappling with different versions of the truth and relationships among the three main characters. With unreliable narration moving forward in time, the plot is nonetheless anything but linear, as we watch what happens to the main character from the age of 8 at Terminal B at Raleigh's airport to New York to Africa, Iceland, Luxumbourg and full circle back to Terminal B.--or at least what we think happens. ( )
  sleahey | Oct 26, 2013 |
The unreliable narrator and writer of Kristopher Jansma’s The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards tells readers upfront that figuring out the reality of his life will mean reading between the lines of his dramatic and imaginatively penned stories. The result is a deeply moving exploration of love, friendship and the often confounding and counter intuitive nature of truth and storytelling. ( )
  daniellnic | Sep 25, 2013 |
Found the book disjointed; never felt connected to the narrator who waffled from being dependent to an overly confident liar. Just didn't see the point in the relationship with the other two; a male writer who was generally despondent and a female actress who marries a prince. It starts out as a good read, but soon falls apart. I'm surprised others seem to find it a great read. ( )
  LindaB8 | Sep 24, 2013 |
I enjoyed this, though it was really all over the place. And there's the issue, when a young author is writing as a young author, of wondering how much of the style is the "author's" and how much is the author's. Parts of it were very good, and then parts got a little histrionic, and but since the story dealt with young histrionic types it mostly worked, though it had its exhausting moments. Ice fishing in upstate New York, Southern country clubs, the Grand Canyon, Sri Lanka, Africa... that's a lot of ground to cover.

Jansma takes on an interesting meta kind of conceit, playing around with the idea of source material and truth-telling and how and what gets converted into fiction -- the book is set up as a series of tightly linked stories, or maybe they're really just chapters. Some of them work well and feel complete in their own right, some less so on both counts, but it was still pretty readable. ( )
  lisapeet | Jul 1, 2013 |
This book was very different from almost any other book I have read. At the very end I finally understood the publisher's note at the beginning of the book that states, "If you believe you are the author of this book, please contact Haslett & Grouse Publishers (New York, New York) at your first convenience.

The writing is clever, funny, bold, and yet always leaves one wondering, what is fact and what if fiction?

The story is basically about a young writer trying to reinvent himself. Along his journey, we met the people closest to him. Each chapter is set up about a small part of his life that reads like a story. This was an original, very engaging read.
I received the book as part of the Goodreads giveaway program in exchange for a review. ( )
  melaniehope | Jun 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
The strain of living up to this exhortation shows, resulting in a novel that's so emphatically slanted — or skewed — it's practically in italics. But there's plenty to relish in this noteworthy debut, especially on revisiting the opening pages once you've made it to the end. Typical of Jansma's cunning artistry is a lovely checkers metaphor that explains being kinged as "gaining the ability to reverse course. To go against the tide, as it were, back to where you've begun." It's a possibility that holds out hope for Jansma's narrator. The question is, can this liar — er, leopard — change his spots? And can Jansma extend his purview beyond writers?
added by ozzer | editNPR, Heller McAlpin (Mar 26, 2013)
 
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Epigraph
All good books are alike in that they are trues if they had really happened... - Ernest Hamingway
Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth but by washing away from it all that is not gold. - Leo Tolstoy
Dedication
For Leah
First words
I've lost every book I've ever written.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067002600X, Hardcover)

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 Pulitzer Prize–winning A Visit from the Goon Squad with its elegantly constructed exploration of the stories we tell to find out who we really are.


(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:32 -0400)

Can a leopard ever really change his spots? Can a person ever change? These are the timeless questions that Kristopher Jansma asks in this enchanting debut novel about three great friends, two men and one woman with their triumphs and failures in life and love and their globe-spanning adventures. From the jazz clubs of Manhattan to the villages of Sri Lanka, these three remarkably engaging characters grow up and grow old, fall in and out of love, write novels and wed wealthy European aristocrats. As much a story about a young man and his friends trying to find their way in the world as a whipsmart exploration of the nature of truth and storytelling, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards will delight readers with its near perfect alchemy of emotional depth and warmth, formal playfulness, and accessible exploration of what it means to grow up.… (more)

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