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. InDon'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.
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 inRolling Stone,London Sunday Times, and every major Canadian magazine.Don’t I Know You?is her first work of fiction.
“Delightfully strange…I think I’m concealed in it under a sibylline pseudonym!”
—Margaret Atwood, on Twitter
“Don’t I Know You?reframes our fascination with famous strangers, which can be as flippant as paging throughUs Weekly in the checkout line or as passionate as a desperate teenage crush. In Jackson’s hands, that fascination is a kind of creativity—even a kind of art.”
“Delightful and audacious…Exquisitely written…Poignant and beautifully rendered.”
—Judith Timson,The Toronto Star
“Stopped me in my tracks…Sensitively rendered stories that encompass one woman’s life…Jackson’s writing is so smooth that it all feels real; anything seems possible…The result is magic...This is the book I'm recommending to anyone who asks, 'What should I read next?'”
—The Globe and Mail(The 100 Best Books of 2016)
"Jackson's characters, real and purely fictional, ring true."
“Nothing short of brilliant…[Jackson’s] prose here is beautiful: simple, streamlined, quietly honest. Funny in an understated way.”
—Tara Henley,The Toronto Star
"With its backdrop of cultural touchstones that define the passing generations, this playful journey will especially appeal to fiction lovers who are also pop culture fans.”
“A writer's life is studded with celebrity appearances in this whimsical collection of linked stories…Jackson, a Canadian magazine journalist making her fiction debut, finds many ingenious ways to play this game.”
“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 ofSingle, Carefree, Mellow
“Where have Marni Jackson’s sassy and sublime stories been all my life? It’s safe to say that after readingDon’t I Know You? I know Bill Murray, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Leonard Cohen, Gwyneth Paltrow, and co. so much better (at least the Bill, Karl, Leonard, and Gloop-mistress of Jackson’s febrile imagination). I also now know the secret yearnings of my own small heart a little better, too.”
—Zsuzsi Gartner, author of the Giller-Prize shortlistedBetter Living through Plastic Explosives
“I knew Marni Jackson first as a gifted, intrepid journalist. Now I know her (suddenly and obviously) as a radiant new voice in fiction.Don’t I Know You?is sexy and shrewd, a work of glaring imagination conjured with journalistic observation and instinct.”
—Terry McDonell, ASME Hall of Fame editor, author ofThe Accidental Life
“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.”
—Barbara Gowdy, award-winning author ofThe White Bone andHelpless
“Alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, this whip-smart debut imagines its heroine through a series of encounters with celebrities, creating an intimate, indelible portrait of a woman's extraordinary life.”
—Semi Chellas, writer, co-executive producer,Mad Men