Conversations with Leopard, is a meditative account of living with chronic illness - portrayed through a delicate interweaving of memoir and magic realism.
Writing from within the confines of her bedroom, the narrator recalls the moment in time when she began to take on the persona of a hunted leopard - a strange metamorphosis of gender and identity that takes place in the weeks leading up to her becoming sick.
The narrative has been written in real time - spanning a period of twenty four years (a period of time close to the predicted life span of a leopard in captivity).
The author’s garden (an ever-present backdrop) is the doorway to a magical space inhabited by Sun and Moon (characterized as jealous sisters) and a Spirit Child (the narrator’s lost childhood self). Interwoven within this backdrop is the story of a young girl growing up in the Midlands in the 1950’s and 1960’s and her affection for the alternative world of her grandparents who live ‘up North’.
The leopard, known simply as Leopard, becomes a character in his own right and the narrator’s friend and confidant. Leopard is astute and challenges the narrator as she mulls over her life history and present situation.
With a lightness of touch, and insightful humour, the narrator evokes the perennial big questions of life - culminating in the realisation that the answer to all of our doubts and uncertainties is nearer and simpler than we allow.