The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards

Kristopher Jansma. Viking, $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-670-02600-5
Jansma’s arresting debut follows the real and imaginary tales of an unnamed narrator whose ambition skyrockets after meeting the wealthy and gifted writer Julian McGann in college. The young men become friends based on a fierce competition to outwrite each other. “Somewhere, once, I read that the only mind a writer can’t see into is the mind of a better writer. When I watched Julian watching the world, I was always reminded of this.” Along the way, the narrator falls desperately in love with Julian’s beguiling friend Evelyn, and in the run-up to her wedding begins sleeping with her. As Julian’s writing attracts the kind of fervor that happens rarely, the narrator plods along in the man’s overpowering shadow until his own behavior, and what it brings out of Julian, wrench the two friends apart. While keeping an eye on Julian from afar, the narrator struggles to develop himself as a separate individual from Julian, an effort that seems all but impossible as the two men would have been formless without the impact of each other. Jansma’s characters deftly explore the blurred lines between fact and fiction, discovering the shades of truth that lie in between. Agent: Chelsea Lindman, the Nicholas Ellison Agency. (Mar. 25)
Reviewed on: 11/26/2012
Release date: 03/21/2013
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 437 pages - 978-1-4104-5780-6
Book - 978-1-62406-422-7
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-101-60613-1
Paperback - 254 pages - 978-0-14-312502-0
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