Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma(5 out of 5)

This is a dilly of a book. I had to try to think of a way to describe it at work for the recommends. Since that is truncated to two lines of type, it’s challenging, but I finally did it Thursday. Today comes the review for it. Also took a while for me to formulate it. I loved this book- but it really reminds me of Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Meaning I heard how excellent it was, knew that it won the Pulitzer Prize(among others) for fiction, yet it took me a whole year after it came out for me to sit down and read it. And my first undertaking of it was mixed- meaning, I was disappointed at first. I was also, at that time, ridiculously stressed out and looking for a place to live. The second time around with it came eight months later. That time, I was able to sit down and fully enjoy it. And I did. This book is very similiar. I read it and loved it, but I feel like i had a chess game with a ghostly avatar. I have a feeling I will pawn that sucker months from now, when life settles down into the normal run-of-the-mill lifestyle I normally practice. Shit is too crazy now. 

Anyway- onto the plot. Kristopher Jansma introduces an incredibly likely character- the narrator is trying to find his way through life. He idolizes and ends up befriending the incredibly lucky(and one is led to believe, gifted and productive) Julian McGann. In the true spirit of tortured genius, Julian is one pistachio short of a nut gift basket. He hangs out with the beautiful green-eyed Evelyn, who our hero ends up falling head over heels with. The whole doomed romance(if you can call it that, I’m curious what anyone else who reads this would say) reminds me of The Great Gatsby. What happens when our beloved narrator begins writing a book and leading a life that turns out to be largely based on lies? Is the line between fact and fiction in pursuit of accolades to try to emulate your idol so perilously blurred? Where do love and hate collide(sorry, Def Leppard, no intention on stealing your song title)? What happens when the real and the imagined real begin to look the same and you can’t tell the difference? 

I almost felt like I was watching a satirical version of Inception reading this book. Like I said, though, it’s literary bastard cousin is definitely Jennifer Egan’s Visit From the Goon Squad. Jansma has a unique gift for making the narrator an unlikely hero and loser in love, but you’re rooting for him to somehow untangle himself from the wicked web he’s woven for himself. You’re also trying to figure out for yourself, much of the book, if there is logic involved, what it may be, who it may benefit, and why our Errol Flynn of the literary realm goes about things the way he does. When you get to the end, I am guaranteeing you that you will definitely question why it ends the way it does- several times. And then when you think you have figured it out, you’ll re-read it a third time. it’s that sort of book. In fact, I can’t wait to read it a third time to try to figure out what drugs he was taking when he pulls half of the shit that he does(our main character, not our author). 

All in all, awesome. Give it a chance. Make sure you have a few drinks before you do, but you won’t regret it. 

~ by generationgbooks on April 13, 2013.

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