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You Can Say You
Knew Me When

“It had been five years since I’d visited Greenlawn, and as soon as I stepped off the bus from Newark Airport, it was clear the only thing that had changed was me.”


Charming underachiever Jamie Garner is living a sexy slacker's life in San Francisco during the dot-com boom — avoiding his stalled career as a radio producer, barely holding on to his relationship, but surrounded by fun-loving friends. 

And then Jamie gets the call he’s always dreaded: Teddy, the father who never accepted him, has died. It's time for the prodigal son to come home to the subdivisions and strip malls of suburban New Jersey to face the emotionally barren family he left behind years ago. 

Caught between the guilt he wants to shake and the grief he can’t express, Jamie takes solace in a box of memorabilia he finds in the attic, marked “1960,” the year his father spent in San Francisco but kept secret. Jamie is especially drawn to a moody, enigmatic photo of the stunning Dean Foster, his dad’s closest friend, who headed west then mysteriously disappeared. 

Determined to unlock the mystery of his father, Jamie seeks out the artists and poets, the free spirits and wild men mentioned in Teddy’s letters to Dean. It’s a journey that takes him deep into the subcultures of San Francisco, from the bohemian heyday of the Beat Generation through the Internet mania of his contemporary world, even as it unleashes something primal, hungry, and slightly dangerous in Jamie. As his search for the elusive Dean Foster turns ever more obsessive, undermining his friendships, his income, and his fidelity to his partner, Jamie is forced to decide what he is willing to risk in the pursuit of the truth. 


  Lambda Book Report


You Can Say You Knew Me When is the sort of novel that keeps you home on a weekend night. The lives K.M. Soehnlein gives us are wilder, braver, and truer than our own. The World of Normal Boys demonstrated he was a writer to watch. This one demonstrates why we shouldn’t take our eyes off him, even for a second.”


Author of All The Dirty Parts and 
A Series of Unfortunate Events

“A terrific story, with richly drawn characters and an uncanny sense of place. . . beautifully, gracefully done.”


“His first novel, The World of Normal Boys, was a classic coming-out story. You Can Say You Knew Me When is longer and more ambitious — a father-and-son story; a portrait of two subcultures; and an astute novel of manners.”


“Proving that his incredible debut, The World of Normal Boys, wasn’t a fluke, Soehnlein’s sophomore effort is more ambitious. . . he weaves the various dramas beautifully.”


“What’s remarkable about the story Soehnlein tells is that Jamie is an infuriatingly flawed character, yet despite his alienating so many people and making so many ‘wrong’ choices, the reader remains a captive of the telling. The characters are nuanced and complex, the events believable, and the prose smooth and assured.”


The flow and intensity of the writing make it difficult to put Soehnlein's book down . . . With remarkably stylish and witty prose, Soehnlein keeps the reading convincing and compelling, displaying a knack for giving just enough detail to put the reader right in the scene.”


“Proving that his incredible debut, The World of Normal Boys, wasn’t a fluke, Soehnlein’s sophomore effort is more ambitious. . . he weaves the various dramas beautifully.”


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