I am so thrilled to announce that my story collection I KNOW YOU KNOW WHO I AM is coming from Penguin Books. Huge thanks to my genius, patient agent Caroline at Frances Goldin and my wonderful editor Victoria, and the whole team at Penguin. This is a dream come true, as cliche as that sounds. (So cliche in fact I nearly typed out the phrase “dream cliche.”) Per the announcement, the book is about queer characters searching for paths to intimacy, often deceiving others and themselves in an attempt to navigate their own vulnerability. (Mary Gaitskill and I share a sentence in that announcement, to give a sense of my thrill.) I wrote and workshopped the title story my first semester of the MFA, back in Fall 2013, which feels like (and I guess was?) ages ago.
And a little (very generous!) advance praise from some truly stunning writers:
“Peter Kispert’s dazzling collection is a reminder that the best fiction tells lies in order to discover truth. Here is a confident, psychologically astute new writer with a bold new vision.”
—Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased (watch the trailer for the movie, just out today–it will break your whole heart)
“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
“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
I also had the honor of speaking with Bryan and Doug, founders of Big Gay Ice Cream, and writing this profile over at GQ. They’re nearing a decade of slinging some weird cones with adventurous flavors. Like Cheeto, which is gross but apparently amazing, “gross but apparently amazing” being not quite enough to lure me into biting, as I do not eat cheese-like product, let alone real cheese. But go for it, if that’s your thing. (Weird though, to be honest, if you have not tried this and think on reflex–that’s my thing!) Anyway, click that link, if only for the gorgeous photos. Which for the record I did not take!
More news soon, but for now I’m back to a story (OK, a first paragraph) I abandoned a few weeks ago. Two teens in their sleeping bags but not sleeping, in a hot basement on a rainy summer night. Pellets of hail against an air conditioner. I have an attitude toward this paragraph that I’m in earnest trying to find in life.
A kind of deep-breath faith. Let’s see where this goes.