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Don't I Know You?

Cover of Don't I Know You?

Don't I Know You?

What if some of the artists we feel as if we know—Meryl Streep, Neil Young, Bill Murray—turned up in the course of our daily lives?

This is what happens to Rose McEwan, an ordinary woman who keeps having strange encounters with famous people. In this engrossing, original novel-in-stories, we follow her life from age 17, when she takes a summer writing course led by a young John Updike, through her first heartbreak (witnessed by Joni Mitchell) on the island of Crete, through her marriage, divorce, and a canoe trip with Taylor Swift, Leonard Cohen and Karl Ove Knausgaard. (Yes, read on.)

With wit and insight, Marni Jackson takes a world obsessed with celebrity and turns it on its head. In Don't I Know You?, she shows us how fame is just another form of fiction, and how, in the end, the daily dramas of an ordinary woman's life can be as captivating and poignant as any luminary tell-all.

What if some of the artists we feel as if we know—Meryl Streep, Neil Young, Bill Murray—turned up in the course of our daily lives?

This is what happens to Rose McEwan, an ordinary woman who keeps having strange encounters with famous people. In this engrossing, original novel-in-stories, we follow her life from age 17, when she takes a summer writing course led by a young John Updike, through her first heartbreak (witnessed by Joni Mitchell) on the island of Crete, through her marriage, divorce, and a canoe trip with Taylor Swift, Leonard Cohen and Karl Ove Knausgaard. (Yes, read on.)

With wit and insight, Marni Jackson takes a world obsessed with celebrity and turns it on its head. In Don't I Know You?, she shows us how fame is just another form of fiction, and how, in the end, the daily dramas of an ordinary woman's life can be as captivating and poignant as any luminary tell-all.

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About the Author-
  • Marni Jackson has won numerous National Magazine Awards for her journalism, humor, and social commentary. Her non-fiction books have challenged popular thinking on subjects as diverse as the culture of motherhood and the treatment of pain. She has published in Rolling Stone, London Sunday Times, and every major Canadian magazine. Don't I Know You? is her first work of fiction.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2016
    A writer's life is studded with celebrity appearances in this whimsical collection of linked stories.When we meet Rose at 17 in 1963, she's a student at a summer arts program in the Canadian countryside where an American author who has recently published a "novel about an aging basketball player" is the visiting writing instructor. But the young John Updike is less moved by Rose's writing talent than her long, tanned legs, Bermuda shorts, and matching halter tops, and by the end of the summer Rose will have learned more about the faithlessness of men than the writing of fiction. In subsequent stories, she'll go on a date with Bill Murray, be stalked by Charlotte Rampling, and share a stolen kiss with Bob Dylan after he mysteriously crashes her family's summer vacation. Fourteen stories and 50 years later, she's had a facial from Gwyneth Paltrow and liver surgery by a drunk Keith Richards, winding things up by taking a canoe trip with Leonard Cohen, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Taylor Swift. Jackson, a Canadian magazine journalist making her fiction debut, finds many ingenious ways to play this game, but the quality of the stories is inconsistent, and there's not much to keep you going except to see which famous name is next. The most emotionally developed piece is also one of the cleverest, "Free Love," in which Rose and her boyfriend, Nick, run into Joni Mitchell in the Cretan village of Matala. All the details of the setting come from Mitchell's song "Carey": the silver, the wine, the wind in from Africa, Carey himself. As Nick throws himself unabashedly into an affair with the girl in the next cave, Rose becomes increasingly miserable. As Joni puts it in a heart-to-heart at the Mermaid Cafe, "This free-love thing. It's bullshit." A one-trick pony, with a pretty good trick.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Barbara Gowdy, award-winning author of The White Bone and Helpless

    "Don't I Know You? is full of surprises in the best possible way. A premise so unlikely you could never describe it and writing so beautiful you could never believe it. Jackson's prose is quicker than a mongoose, sharper than a scalpel--and full of read-aloud sentences. She takes the familiar and makes it fantastical and then makes it familiar again. It's an almost impossible achievement, yet Jackson does it again and again, and--best of all--you never see it coming."--Katherine Heiny, author of Single, Carefree, Mellow

    "There is so much to praise in this brilliant collection: Marni Jackson's daring and intelligence, her gentle humor and unencumbered prose, her eye for the beautiful and hidden, and, above all, her creation of a heroine as appealing and valiant as any I've encountered in recent fiction."

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    Flatiron Books
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