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The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards: A Novel…

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

by Kristopher Jansma

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3132151,353 (3.89)11
Title:The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards: A Novel
Authors:Kristopher Jansma
Info:Viking Adult (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 272 pages
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The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma



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The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards is a brilliant novel that unfolds like a set of Russian nesting dolls: each chapter unveils more details about the characters and the plot, but with each chapter Jansma's unreliable protagonist leaves the reader with more questions than answers. What is truth? What is a lie?

This novel is also a beautiful love letter to writing, and explores the relationship between the writer and the written word in such a way that I was left inspired to pick up my pen. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
I like short-story-influenced novels, so I thought this was great.


And the story-within-a-story themes, the layers, it works. You can sorta try to puzzle over what’s “real” and what’s “imagination”. ( )
  smallself | Mar 15, 2018 |
"She pressed against me, half of her pressed up against just half of me. I half passed out." I'm in love with Sir Percival Glyde! (I'm only on page 20!)

Evelyn is quite the muse. Julian and SPG are quite the odd couple. smacks of Fitz - Hemingway tumultuous relationship. Also the Evelyn character sits in the shadow of Lady Brett of The Sun Also Rises. Especially evident when she dismisses the Mitchell character, a thinly veiled jab at Michael Phillips.

The story is a story wrapped in a story. telling the truth with a slant, as the protagonist is fond of repeating. Ad nauseam.

Added bonus, NYC a backdrop and a Holden Caulfield feel to the main character, Pinkerton. ( )
  Alphawoman | Nov 17, 2016 |
Works of fiction about the fiction writer's struggle to find a voice and get words down on paper are more likely to find a sympathetic audience among other writers than among general readers, who may not care much about that particular struggle. Such a book is The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, the first novel by Kristopher Jansma. Jansma's narrator is indeed a fiction writer, one who starts his writing career early, to fill the time while awaiting the return of his mother from her job as an airline hostess. It is in the airline terminal where he writes, and loses, his first manuscript. But he is also, in broader terms, a creator—unreliable and shape-shifting and something of a charlatan—whose most noteworthy and audacious fictional creation might be his own life. We never learn this young man's name, instead following him through a series of adventures under various aliases and guises as he pursues his art, the lost love of his life, and his best friend, also a writer but a much more successful one. These adventures take place in various locales in the US, Africa and Europe. The novel is clever, playful and endlessly inventive, crammed with exotic settings and elaborate incident, peppered with references to other authors and literary works, and told with verve and self-deprecating humour. Throughout, Jansma’s narrator maintains an ironic distance, from both the reader and what’s happening on the page, as if to imply “all this happened but it is not necessarily true.” In the end, the book’s circular structure takes us back where we started, to the airline terminal, where, instead of a lost manuscript, a different manuscript is waiting to be found. The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, as the title suggests, is also a book about the fluid nature of identity and the ways in which we alter ourselves to accommodate shifting realities. The book is sometimes confusing. It is the antithesis of a straightforward narrative, and some readers may find its deliberate disjointedness frustrating. But it also entertains, at times grandly, in the cheeky, subversive and highly self-conscious manner of, say, a movie about making movies. ( )
  icolford | Apr 17, 2016 |
writing itself is great but story was too choppy for my taste ( )
  eenerd | Sep 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (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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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
For Leah
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:27 -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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