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The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards (Paperback)
"This is such an original method of writing so unlike what I’ve been reading lately. The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards
is about a writer and his friends trying to find some truth. The book
asks whether it is in fiction that we find truth or if it is in truth we
find fiction. It depicts coming of age as a lifelong endeavor and reads
like a fierce game of checkers. I loved it. From the very first page of
the author’s note I was hooked, and as I read on truly blown away!"
“Each chapter is a fiction in and of itself, pulling us in and then slipping away to reveal itself to have been a story within a story. One begins to feel as if Jansma is granting a forbidden peek into the mechanics of the writer’s inventions, his narrative fantasies. A quote of Hemingway’s had come to mind: “All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you…” As the writer writes and re-writes his life, patterns and people ripple and echo into each other and the suspicion begins to grow that none of the story is reliable, but somehow, all of it is true.” -- Emily— From Emily's Picks
"F. Scott Fitzgerald meets Wes Anderson" (The Village Voice) in this 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 the author of Why We Came to the City As early as he can remember, the narrator of this remarkable novel has wanted to become a writer. From the jazz clubs of Manhattan to the villages of Sri Lanka, Kristopher Jansma's hopelessly unreliable--yet hopelessly earnest--narrator will be haunted by the success of his greatest friend and literary rival, the brilliant Julian McGann, and endlessly enamored with Evelyn, the green-eyed girl who got away. A profound exploration of the nature of truth and storytelling, this delightful picaresque tale heralds Jansma as a bold, new American voice.
About the Author
Kristopher Jansma is the author of Why We Came to the City and The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, winner of the Sherwood Anderson Foundation Fiction Award. A graduate of Columbia University's MFA program, he is now an assistant professor of English and creative writing at SUNY New Paltz and a graduate lecturer in fiction at Sarah Lawrence College. He has written for the New York Times, Salon, The Believer, The Millions, Slice, BOMB, and Electric Literature. He lives with his wife and son in Brooklyn, New York.
"At times, the novel is a string of short stories; at others, it is a set of matroyshka dolls, containing, at one point, a novel within a short story wihthin a novella within a novel. ...Jansma approaches them with wry humor and a steady hand. The narrator's games never fail to entertain, even if he is constantly changing the rules."
--The New Yorker
“[A] tricky picaresque thick with literary allusion from Fitzgerald to Amis…[A] clever, tightly paced novel of ever-upping stakes.”
"Playfully weird...I'd call this book "postmodern," but that makes it sound like it's not as pleasurable to read as it is."—Meg Wolitzer, author of the New York Times bestselling The Interestings on NPR.com
“Though one might recognize bits of Dickens, Fitzgerald or Hemingway, this is simply a good case of stealing from geniuses. It’s a breathless work the celebrates the literary tradition, while making a strong case that its author belongs on the shelf beside his forebears.”
—Time Out New York (5 Stars)
“Couched in Jansma’s wildly recursive funhouse of a novel is a coming-of-age story…filled with clever literary allusions and insider jokes…[T]here’s plenty to relish in this noteworthy debut.”
—Heller McAlpin for NPR.org
“F. Scott Fitzgerald meets Wes Anderson…[T]he novel strikes a cord on questions of authenticity, love, and ambition, and it reminds us that life is often out of our control, even if we’re writing it down.”
—The Village Voice
“One of the best books of the year.”
—Jeff Glor for CBS Author Talk
“[Jansma is] a writer of extreme promise, who seems to belong to an older generation.”
—Electric Literature “Recommended Reading”
“[A] slippery and energetic debut novel…rapid in pace, the language and details tightly controlled…It’s tremendous fun, this book.”
—San Francisco Journal of Books
“[T]his mind-blowing spiral of a book will also appeal to anyone who enjoys their fiction as playful as it is intriguing.”
“The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards’ intricate narrative game and its carbon-burning escapades add up to a novel that is wise about identity and aspiration, competitive storytelling, romantic obsession and the assertion that ‘all these stories are true, only somewhere else.’”
“Captivating…[A] smart, searching debut about art and identity.”
“[A] canny, seductive, and utterly transfixing tale about the magic of storytelling
and the misery of writing…Like a magician pulling a seemingly endless string of colorful scarves from a hat, Jansma streams stories-within-stories-within-stories, each a diabolically clever homage… Readers will detect riffs on Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Truman Capote, Bob Dylan, Tolstoy, Salinger, Borges, Kipling, and many more…A first novel with the strength and agility of a great cat leaping through rings of fire.”