“[A] wryly scathing debut.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
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 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.
“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
Peter Kispert is the author of the story collection I Know You Know Who I Am (Penguin Books, 2020). His fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in GQ, Esquire, Playboy, Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, The Carolina Quarterly, The Journal, Slice, and elsewhere. He lives in New York.