During a lonely and difficult year, author Jason Schwartzman began allowing regular, everyday interactions with strangers to escalate. In NO ONE YOU KNOW, Schwartzman compiles dozens of these encounters and deftly reveals the kinship he finds there, ultimately reconsidering what it means to know someone. From taxi dispatchers to aquarium attendants, drifters to neighbors, exes to siblings, Schwartzman captures the space between people, meticulously distilling the turning point when strangers become intimates. Heartbreaking, insightful, and often profoundly funny, NO ONE YOU KNOW revels in connections, examining how we make ourselves known. A rich and beautiful debut.
"NO ONE YOU KNOW reads like a collection of polaroids. Like a stranger’s photo album you found at a thrift store; everything looks familiar—the people, the poses, the detritus in the background, all these small moments and people frozen in time—but also not quite. “Five Minute Friendships,” one of these short snapshots is titled, and that’s what they feel like, told through Schwartzman’s curious, caring, attentive eye."
— Aaron Burch,
Founding Editor of Hobart
"At a time when so many of us are missing real human connection, NO ONE YOU KNOW reminds us of the power and beauty of random encounters with strangers. Jason’s honest, insightful and cathartic prose embraces you like a warm hug, and bears out the thesis he shares early in the book: That 'a pleasure of stories [is] to feel close to something that’s actually far away.'”
— Noah Rosenberg,
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Narratively
"In the great tradition of wayward oral historians, this compelling debut from a talented new author is a vivid and sentient portrait of everyday Americana and the nature of intimacy. A quest for realness in an age of confusion, told through a series of rollicking encounters, the book’s charm lies hidden in the most meaningful place: between the lines. NO ONE YOU KNOW is indeed everyone you know. An important collection, well-observed, stitched and told."
— Geoffrey Gray,
New York Times Bestselling author of Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper
"Schwartzman is an interlocutor, a witness, an agitator. He is thirsty for meaning; he is a “hungry depository” for the lives of others. With the moral zip of Isaac Bashevis Singer and the sharp compassion of Lydia Davis, Schwartzman takes talking to strangers as praxis for discovering his own self. NO ONE YOU KNOW is a book that revels in the sweaty intimacy of being human among other humans."
— Amanda Goldblatt,
author of Hard Mouth
"NO ONE YOU KNOW reads like the diary of your closest, wisest friend. In this sharp constellation of stories, Jason Schwartzman illuminates the power of human connection by taking the reader deep into his encounters with strangers and loved ones. Some are brief and others evolve over time, but all are revelatory and finely written. Dense with insight and sparkling with humor, NO ONE YOU KNOW is a one-of-a-kind book that will stay with me for years to come."
— Lucy Tan,
author of What We Were Promised
"NO ONE YOU KNOW is sharply observational, atmospheric, with a clever surprise on every page. This debut is an understated and zoomed in account of what it means to be a person, and Jason Schwartzman is an exciting new voice to watch."
— Chloe Caldwell,
author of Women and I'll Tell You In Person
"If a person is a compendium of desires, beliefs, memories and actions—velocities crisscrossing beyond our expectations—then what does it mean to know somebody? How is it that a brief encounter can seem to expose us so wholly to another, and them to us, while years of acquaintance can blur by without two people ever really seeing each other except through a disheartening scrim of prejudices and proprieties? Jason Schwartzman explores this situation in prose deep and clear, inquisitive and humble, revealing—now when we're all worried about our private bubbles—that families and friends can suddenly appear strange to us, and strangers uncannily familiar."
— Vidyan Ravinthiran,
author of The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here
Jason Schwartzman’s essays and stories have appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Narrative.ly, The Rumpus, Hobart, River Teeth, Nowhere Magazine, Human Parts, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, Hippocampus Magazine, and elsewhere. He is a Founding Editor of True.Ink, a revival of the classic adventure magazine. NO ONE YOU KNOW is Schwartzman’s debut book.
Thanks to all who joined us in celebrating Jason's debut
Thursday, May 13, 6:00PM via Zoom.
No One You Know
Strangers and The Stories We Tell
$14.50 paperback ISBN 9781944853761
$9.99 ebook ISBN 9781944853808