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 listeners 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.
©2013 Kristopher Jansma (P)2013 Penguin Audio
I don't know if I could finish reading a novel ever again. I am so addicted to listening to books I have little interest in reading!
I give the book 3 stars because it kept me interested to the end. I could not like the main character, finding him with little or no foundation, (which is a key theme of the book), and ultimately disappointing as a man, friend, lover and son.
Ballerini was excellent, however, a true master of characters.
What kept me interested was the hero's inevitable self discovery. The cleverness of the book is how he comes to this discovery.
In the meantime we are treated to an extraordinary cast of characters. The wealthy, genius, arrogant, and suicidal author and best friend. (I can't use names for reasons that will become evident should you read or listen to this book.) The beautiful actress and lover, another clever clue to his self discovery. An unforgettable patriarch holed up in Sudan and ravaged with dementia.
In the end as shallow as I am, I look to fall in love with the main character as well as the story. As a boy, he won my heart, only to break it as he does his own and all who love him.
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