The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards

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  • ISBN 9781101605318
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  • Penguin Audio
  • Adult


“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.


"Canny, seductive and utterly transfixing…A first novel with the strength and agility of a great cat leaping through rings of fire."
–Booklist (starred review)

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.”

–Darin Strauss, author of More Than It Hurts You

“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.”

–Stewart O’Nan, author of Last Night at the Lobster

"Kristopher Jansma is a brilliant writer of energetic, original, intelligent, skillful and highly imaginative and hysterically funny fiction.  Few writers of any age succeed in the chances he took with The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards. That he does so with such finesse, ease and maturity is astounding."

–Stephen Dixon, author of What Is All This?

“The brilliance of this novel slays me! With an extravagance of wit and grace, Kristopher Jansma has masterfully composed a chimerical, matroshka doll of a story as gripping as it is inventive, as moving as it is hilarious, populated with fascinating, singular characters about whom you long to know more and more and more. (Even the extras are drawn in pitch-perfect detail.) It reminded me of so many favorite novels, from David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten to Gary Shteyngart’s The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, and yet it’s so deeply original that all comparisons fall out the window. This is the most fresh and exciting novel I’ve read in ages.”

–Joanna Smith Rakoff, author of A Fortunate Age

“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.”

–Mira Bartok, author of The Memory Palace, winner of the National Book Critic’s Circle Award

“Clever, smart and beautifully written, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards is not only a story about storytelling but also a true celebration of the art. At times hilarious and heart-wrenching, Jansma has managed to produce a mind-bending and utterly unforgettable book.”
–Andrew Porter, author of The Theory of Light and Matter

“Serious fun. What romantic comedy used to be in the time of Shakespeare. Not a breath of fresh air, but a gale.”
–Martin Cruz Smith, author of Three Stations