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I Know You Know Who I Am: Book summary and reviews of I Know You Know Who I Am by Peter Kispert

I Know You Know Who I Am

by Peter Kispert

I Know You Know Who I Am by Peter Kispert X
I Know You Know Who I Am by Peter Kispert
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2020
    240 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

Throughout this striking debut collection we meet characters who have lied, who have sometimes created elaborate falsehoods, and who now must cope with the way that those deceptions eat at the very fabric of their lives and relationships.

In the title story, the narrator, desperate to save a love affair on the rocks, hires an actor to play a friend he invented in order to seem less lonely, after his boyfriend catches on to his compulsion for lying and demands to know this friend is real; in "Aim for the Heart," a man's lies about a hunting habit leave him with an unexpected deer carcass and the need to parse unsettling high school memories; in "Rorschach," a theater producer runs a show in which death row inmates are crucified in an on-stage rendering of the New Testament, while being haunted daily by an unrequited love and nightly by ghosts of his own creation.

In I Know You Know Who I Am, Kispert deftly explores deception and performance, the uneasiness of reconciling a queer identity with the wider world, and creates a sympathetic, often darkly humorous, portrait of characters searching for paths to intimacy.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"While his depictions of contemporary life are wholly immersive, he also displays a talent for the speculative...Kispert blends sharp characterization with intriguing premises throughout this memorable collection." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Kispert's short fiction is a performative lie that reveals truth to readers in subtle, surprising ways that literary fiction lovers will devour... [these] stories dig deep, and they're far from forgettable." - Booklist (starred review)

"The breezy style occasionally belies the effort required to connect the short, splintered scenes and peripheral characters into a coherent picture, though they leave the reader with juicy questions to chew on. This lively and provocative work crisply reflects the challenges of modern love." - Publishers Weekly

"The collection wows with its insight, its daring, and its breadth of talent." - Elle.com, "12 Best Books of 2020 So Far"

"Kispert's stories have remarkable range, but are all anchored by lithe and lucid prose compelling the reader to become complicit in these very human dramas." - OprahMag.com

"This debut collection has a wisdom and a tapestry of language far beyond the author's years. Loosely linked unreliable narrators remind us that we might find religion in the most unlikely places — such as the space between a truth and a lie." - Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

"Engrossing, unsettling, full of characters in search of their place in the world, I Know You Know Who I Am reminds me in the best possible way of the debut collections of Mary Gaitskill and Adam Haslett, in tone and talent and the promise of what will come next." - David Ebershoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife

"This book is a beautiful Russian Nesting Doll: to try, to know, to understand. In these pages, intimacy is often a weapon, a drug, and a salve. Astonishingly tense and terrifically crafted, Kispert's collection is not only a work of art, it's a work of true tenderness." - Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things

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Author Information

Peter Kispert

Peter Kispert's fiction and nonfiction has appeared in OUT magazine, GQ, Esquire, Playboy, The Carolina Quarterly, The Journal, Slice, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of Indiana University's MFA program, where he taught undergraduate fiction writing workshops, and an assistant editor at American Short Fiction. He lives in New York.

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