Sunday, August 11, 2013

Book Review - The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma

From Goodreads:

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.

I picked this based on another blog review I believe. Not my usual genre, but I was intrigued since the protagonist was a writer.

It is difficult to talk about this book without revealing some details - so read at your own risk!


I like that this is a story-within-a-story-within-a-story-within-a-story- kinda book. It's a interesting plot, especially since it is a debut novel! However, the story got a bit repetitive in the later part of the book. And then you just really don't know who the protagonist really is anymore.

I do appreciate the ending which closes the loop and brings us back to the beginning.

If there is one take away from this book, it's that fiction authors need to be great liars - they need to make the readers believe in what the authors create, be it part truth or part slant. I guess I never really think about it this way before, though we do talk about whether a book/character is believable or not, but I didn't equate that to being lied to :) Interesting concept.

3 Stars. Great premise, though get a bit repetitive. I like the plot, but don't really care for the characters.

Note - The book was borrowed from the library.

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