There Is No Ethan: How Three Women Caught America’s Biggest Catfish

One of People‘s Best Books of June!

“I did not expect to be shocked by There Is No Ethan. Online deception has become so ubiquitous that it’s boring…But the twists and turns in Anna Akbari’s book are outrageous. I read it in one sitting, then spent days recounting her story to anyone who would listen, unable to shake off my indignation on behalf of the author and her fellow victims.”—New York Times

Part memoir, part explosive window into the mind of a catfisher, a thrilling personal account of three women coming face-to-face with an internet predator and teaming up to expose them.

In 2011, three successful and highly educated women fell head over heels for the brilliant and charming Ethan Schuman. Unbeknownst to the others, each exchanged countless messages with Ethan, staying up late into the evenings to deepen their connections with this fascinating man. His detailed excuses about broken webcams and complicated international calling plans seemed believable, as did last minute trip cancellations. After all, why would he lie?  Ethan wasn’t after money — he never convinced his marks to shell out thousands of dollars for some imagined crisis. Rather, he ensnared these women in a web of intense emotional intimacy. After the trio independently began to question inconsistencies in their new flame’s stories, they managed to find one another and uncover a greater deception than they could’ve ever imagined. As Anna Akbari and the women untangled their catfish’s web, they found other victims and realized that without a proper crime, there was no legal reason for “Ethan” to ever stop.

THERE IS NO ETHAN catalogues Akbari’s experience as both victim and observer. By looking at the bigger picture of where these stories unfold — a world where technology mediates our relationships; where words and images are easily manipulated; and where truth, reality, and identity have become slippery terms — Akbari gives a page-turning and riveting examination of why stories like Ethan’s matter for us all.

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Publication date

June 4, 2024