I Know You Know Who I Am (Paperback)

Stories

By Peter Kispert

Penguin Books, 9780143134282, 240pp.

Publication Date: February 11, 2020

List Price: 16.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

"Peter Kispert's dazzling collection is a reminder that fiction tells lies in order to discover truth. Here is a confident, psychologically astute new writer with a bold new vision." Garrard Conley, New York Times bestselling author of Boy Erased

"Kispert is unequivocally a writer to watch.” —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things


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.


About the Author

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


Praise For I Know You Know Who I Am: Stories

"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 The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife
 
“Sometimes you read a collection and you wonder how a mere mortal wrote it because the language is so pure, the depth of emotion so profound—Peter Kispert is a wizard, creating a collection of liars and lies that will ring true in the heart of any reader. A tour de force: read this book.” —Nick White, author of How to Survive a Summer and Sweet & Low

"If I could give the characters in Peter Kispert’s expansive, funny, and moving collection the forgiveness and recognition they seek, I would do so whole-heartedly. These unforgettable stories look head on at the spectacles we make of our lives and the impossibility of turning away from them. A talent to watch." —Danielle Lazarin, author of Back Talk
 
“Lashed by years and bound by love, the liars in this incredible debut punish themselves as their compulsions and betrayals tremble across time. Cut crosswise, their lives show these pathologies at work, just as hard and irradiating, superheated and sad, as the prose in which they’re rendered. Above all, it is Kispert’s immense talent that we come to understand, and even love, who they are.” —Patrick Nathan, author of Some Hell