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I Know You Know Who I Am

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  440 ratings  ·  93 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Penguin Books
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Average rating 3.44  · 
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Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Average rating of all stories: 3.45/5
Final rating: 3/5

Longer review with full thoughts about each story to come! Thanks to Penguin Books for the free review copy.

Update 5/18/20
So, some quick thoughts to explain why this longer review is the way it is. First of all, this collection is about 220 pages long and there are a total of 21 stories. This is mostly because about half of the stories are what would be considered flash fiction, short stories of 2 pages or less. I really struggled with these
Feb 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: queer, owned
Do you ever read a book and think, "I appreciate the writing, and I recognise that the storytelling is good, but I hate where this is going and I want out?"

This sums up my experience with this book. I consider myself to be an honest person, especially when it comes to friends and family. I feel that I owe them the truth, even when it's uncomfortable. I think that honesty and trust are two pillars that a relationship needs, or it will inevitably crumble. So reading dozens of stories about people
Larry H
Apr 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Why do we lie? What is it that causes some of us to reinvent ourselves, our past experiences, responses to people or situations, or something else? And why is it so hard for some to acknowledge these lies, instead being forced to live with a falsehood, sometimes for years?

The concept of lying is at the heart of Peter Kispert's debut short story collection, I Know You Know Who I Am . It was the object of much fanfare even before it was published in mid-February.

In Kispert's collection, each st
Peter Kispert
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Finn told me he absolutely loved it.
Feb 29, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020
A solid, if repetitive, debut short story collection, I Know You Know Who I Am explores the different forms deceit can take in queer relationships. Save for one piece about a lesbian facing the loss of her father as a hurricane looms, all focus on bonds between white gay men fractured by lies. In the title story a man hires someone to be his fake friend to appear less lonely to his partner, and in the collection’s best a teen struggles to process his attraction to men while working a dreadful su ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
A collection that uses falsities to talk about truth and engages readers with a deeper connection of their own queer identities, "I Know You Know Who I Am" is a much needed first collection by Peter Kispert.

Split into three parts, each story in this collection of short stories discusses the ways in which gay men are apt to use lies to fabricate parts of themselves in order to find love, be loved, and connect with others. As you can imagine, for many of the characters in these stories, the lies s
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excellent short story collection from a debut writer. At the heart of each of these stories is a gay character dealing with some kind of lie, whether its something they've created themselves or some other falsehood they must confront in order to move forward in their lives. It left me thinking about the intimate nature with which queer people are tied to lying - lying, at first, is how we protect ourselves, which can then lead to some kind of instilled duality between who we believe we actual ...more
Darryl Suite
Jun 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I think this author is talented, but there is a sameness spread across the stories that was hard to ignore. All the characters were carbon copies of one another. They did the same things, had the same type of jobs, told the same lies, had the same backstories. Even the structure and setups of the stories were similar. I must say one of the last stories blew me away: 'In the Palm of His Hand,' a story about a man who pretends to be a devoted Christian in order to snag a boyfriend. Even though it ...more
Emma Eisenberg
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, smart sexy story collection. A fascinating and modern look at queer life & love
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
More like 2.5, but I was pretty disappointed, such a great cover and a very nice premise - stories of lies, trying to hide lies and being a victim of their destructive power. Nonetheless, despite exceptions, I could not care less about multiple of these stories. I was barely engaged, especially at the end.
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
I have no idea what I'm reading, it didn't strike my interest at all. It's a compilation of short stories where the shortest is not even a page long. which make it a flash fiction. All these stories are built around the a theme: "to lie".

I thought I'd give it a try and I only like 2 of the stories. I don't get the point of lying and why they've done it. I tried to bring myself to get something out of it but I just find it difficult. Probably this book is just not for me.
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This collection of short stories explores the intersection of identity and honesty, especially in queer lives. Throughout the book, the author writes stories where queer people lie in their ordinary lives with some funny, some tragic consequences. Identifying as a queer person is always a choice between the truth and a lie. While marginalized for decades, centuries gay people have learned to hide who they are just to survive and learn to lie with great success. Queer people don’t just lie about ...more
Paris (parisperusing)
With I Know You Know Who I Am, Kispert tenderly draws back the veil of embarrassment and guilt gay men of all ages experience in moments of emotional inadequacy. Through a compilation of stories that find young men soliciting freedom in the lies they tell, mourning past and present relationships, daring to make contact with strangers and feigning masculinity with firepower, Kispert’s first collection benevolently exposes the most sensitive corridors of the human heart.
R. Eric Thomas
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is exceptional. The premise of this collection is so clever--stories about liars--that I wouldn't have even minded if it was a gimmick, but fortunately for me, for all of us, it's so far from it. Kispert probes, toys with, teases, and attacks the ideas of personal truth, deception (self and other), and lies from so many angles that, taken as a whole, the collection dazzles with its insight, its daring, and its breadth of talent. These are stories, also, about relationships, particularl ...more
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
This short story collection is very dull.
Deedi Brown (DeediReads)
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: publisher-arcs
All my reviews live at

I Know You Know Who I Am is a gripping collection of short stories about gay men who cannot stop lying. It will draw you in, churn you up, and spit you out in the best way.

For you if: You are looking for a fantastic set of queer short stories that won’t leave you scratching your head, just feeling deeply.

I read a fair number of short story collections, often ones filled with stories that end weirdly or require some
4.5 stars!

Where most short story collections have more-or-less veiled threads tying them together, Peter Kispert's debut story collection, I Know You Know Who I Am, has some very obvious themes: namely the lies we tell each other. I'm curious to what extent Kispert's message is aimed at queer men—for they are the protagonists throughout—but queer readers will certainly have a lot to talk about here.

Lying and betrayal are concepts that definitely resonate with me; visibility and honesty and ownin
Christopher Alonso
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, short-stories
Peter Kispert's stories are unsettling in that they force you to face your own insecurities through the lies we tell ourselves and run with in our own lives. An eerie, stellar first collection. I can't wait to read more. ...more
Kyle Likens
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 rounded up.

Water and lying seemed to be the tying theme to these short stories / flash fiction, but hell if I know anything that connects them. There is some great potential in a handful of these stories ("In The Palm 9f His Hand", "How to live Your Best Life & "Rorschach" to be specific) while others ("Goldfish Bowl", "Signs) had absolutely no point, grace or merit found in them. What did work for me was Mr. Kispert's lovely use of language and curious, almost playful tone of voice when wr
Feb 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
I won this book in a giveaway from the publisher and, I must admit, I could not finish it. I just didn't get it. In fairness to the author I have to say I've never been a big fan of short stories, however, the premise of this book intrigued me and I thought I would enjoy a bunch of short stories about people lying and having to live with those lies....I still think I would enjoy such a book....just not this one. I made it about a third of the way through the book and had to put it down because i ...more
Rayne ♥ [ IG: havenofink ]
Jan 07, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: giveaway
I just won my first ever giveaway from goodreads, can't wait to read it! <3 ...more
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a unique plot about lying and creating falsehoods to get the outcome the person wants. But life is funny that way because that stuff usually bites a person in the butt.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to like this book but just couldn't. It seems more like a portfolio for a writer's workshop, a series of experiments gone awry, attempts that just didn't work. Several stories are no more than 2 pages, one is three paragraphs. They are mostly unfinished.
All but one of the stories involve gay men, the one exception: a gay woman coming to attend her father's funeral but never showing up at the wake. Most involve some kind of lie or betrayal on the part of the protagonist, mostly because s
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
These stories so deftly explore degrees of deceit in relationships, but they're also about our desires (or fears) of being seen, the hope & vulnerability of intimacy. All of them are incredibly tender, show these characters longing for connection even when they're being bad—for example, hiring an actor to play the part of a close friend that doesn't exist to fool a sexy boyfriend. My favorite was "How to Live Your Best Life," where residents of an economically depressed neighborhood can compete ...more
Apoorv  Moghe
I Know You Know Who I Am | Peter Kispert | 14Jun2020
One-Sentence Review
It's possible that I am dumb enough to not understand anything that any of these stories were trying to convey, but boy, was this was a bad "Black Mirror-esque" attempt to conform to the gay stereotype.
Published/Pages : 11Feb2020 | 240 pages
Location: New York City (New York), Indianapolis (Indiana), Laconia (New Hampshire), Chicago (Illinois), Cape Cod (Massachusetts), Bosto
Eric Mueller
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Having peaked at a few reviews before starting this book, I was not expecting to enjoy myself so much while reading this. Serves me write for reading reviews before the book, but I'm just glad this collection was excellent. Some reviewers claimed redundancy, a lot of lying, and couples in conflict, but that's most short story collections these days, and to read Kispert's take on these tropes while putting plenty of new ideas into the works was a fresh gust.

This collection had an interesting jux
This was an interesting collection of short stories. It should be noted that all of the stories' contain an element of LGBTQ+. Further, the main or recurring themes of all the stories seems to be that the protagonists have a tendency to lie and that the end results usually leave the characters depressed or lonely and, in at least one of the stories, suicidal.

To be honest, there were some stories where I was having difficulty figuring out what had happened or why the story ended the way it did. T
Ben Truong
Apr 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I Know You Know Who I Am is an anthology of twenty-one short stories written by Peter Kispert. It is a collection of short stories of characters that grapple with chaotic lives, troubled memories, and shifting identities.

For the most part, it is an uneven collection of twenty-one short stories. I Know You Know Who I Am contains twenty-one short stories, which are written mediocrity well. Kispert's piercing debut collection features characters caught in ambivalence and deceit. The anthology is se
May 26, 2020 rated it liked it
You can read my full-length review at The Queer Review

Deception is the core theme running through the collection of tales. From the white lies that run out of control, to the lies we tell ourselves and grand untruths we try to hide behind. Many are incredibly brief, mere exercises in tone and colour, but the longer stories dissect the layers of deceit in many gay lives.

A more interesting thread seen in some of the stories is that of a grim, heartless future built on the lies we tell ourselves as
Aug 26, 2020 rated it liked it
there were some good stories. there were some parts that were painful, in a good way. but no moments that resonated with me enough that I wanted to tuck them away and keep them forever.
perhaps I’m just generally not a fan of anthologies, but I do think there were some stories in here that were unnecessary. it just wasn’t, in my opinion, a wonderfully curated collection.
I think it would’ve been more powerful if it was only one or even a few of the stories cultivated into a novel. it’s diff
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Peter Kispert is the author of the debut story collection I Know You Know Who I Am, coming soon from Penguin Books (February 11, 2020). His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in OUT magazine, GQ, Esquire, Playboy, The Carolina Quarterly, Slice magazine, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of Indiana University’s MFA program, where he taught undergraduate fiction writing workshops, and serves as an as ...more

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