You Know You Want This

You Know You Want This

"cat Person" and Other Stories

Book - 2019
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"What's special about 'Cat Person,' and the rest of the stories in You Know You Want This , is the author's expert control of language, character, story--her ability to write stories that feel told, and yet so unpretentious and accessible that we think they must be true." --The New York Times Book Review

"Kristen Roupenian isn't just an uncannily great writer, she also knows things about the human psyche--things that I always supposed I would learn at some point, but never did. Some of these things are about men's minds in particular and I'm pretty sure she's right. The world has made a lot more sense since reading this book." --Miranda July, New York Times bestselling author of The First Bad Man

"If you think you know what this collection will be like, you're wrong. These stories are sharp and perverse, dark and bizarre, unrelenting and utterly bananas. I love them so, so much." --Carmen Maria Machado, National Book Award Finalist and author of Her Body and Other Parties

A compulsively readable collection of short stories that explore the complex--and often darkly funny--connections between gender, sex, and power across genres.

You Know You Want This brilliantly explores the ways in which women are horrifying as much as it captures the horrors that are done to them. Among its pages are a couple who becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex...until they can't have sex without him; a ten-year-old whose birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for "something mean"; a woman who finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart's desire: a nameless, naked man; and a self-proclaimed "biter" who dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker.

Spanning a range of genres and topics--from the mundane to the murderous and supernatural--these are stories about sex and punishment, guilt and anger, the pleasure and terror of inflicting and experiencing pain. These stories fascinate and repel, revolt and arouse, scare and delight in equal measure. And, as a collection, they point a finger at you, daring you to feel uncomfortable--or worse, understood--as if to say, "You want this, right? You know you want this."
Publisher: New York : Scout Press, 2019.
Edition: First Scout Press hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781982101633
9781982101640
9781982101657
Characteristics: 225 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Cat person and other stories

Opinion

From Library Staff

A little over a year ago, something unusual happened: a short story went viral on the Internet. Kristen Roupenian's "Cat Person," about a first date that goes wrong, was published in The New Yorker and was a huge source of interest and commentary (there's even a Vox Explainer). In her d... Read More »


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lukasevansherman
May 19, 2019

It's kind of hard to believe but "Cat Person," a story published in "The New Yorker," went viral. Not a cat riding a skateboard or something racist or president said, but an honest to God story! "Cat Person" is, of course, included in Kristen Roupenian's debut collection and is a perfectly calibrated story for the Me Too era. If you're a male with any sensitivity, it probably made you feel bad about yourself. "The Good Guy," which I think is the centerpiece, will make you feel even worse with its toxic male protagonist. These are intense, complicated, and unsettling stories, and they feel very much of the moment. It will be interesting to see where she goes next; she is at work on a novel.

k
krsbozo
May 03, 2019

I picked up this set of short stories because of the popularity of "Cat Person." I felt as if I should read the piece because of how much buzz it generated among the literati a while back. I wasn't disappointed. Some of these stories are quite absurd and dark, but I found it interesting. Can't say it was all enjoyable, though.

l
laphampeak
May 01, 2019

Roupenian's stories are, for the most part, imaginative, disturbing, and fascinating. Readers can react in their own way. She gets you engaged or possibly enraged.

m
Mitzi352
Apr 03, 2019

Don't waste your time, unless of course, you find the sexual proclivities of people interesting. I could only get through 2 of these accounts, the rest is eye wash.

sarah_stevens Jan 28, 2019

I underestimated this collection. I expected the stories to just be more "Cat Person"s (which to be fair, I did enjoy). From the first page, I discovered this was not the case. I devoured it, and the only way I've found to describe the experience was "resonantly cringey."

Some stories are more allegorical, some border on horror, and others read more like straight literary fiction. I liked that I had no idea what was going to happen next (both within individual stories and the collection as a whole), but some readers might not enjoy this variety, which may come off as incongruent.

The dynamics of power and disgust that run throughout made for a compelling read. Would definitely appeal to fans of Ottessa Moshfegh and Carmen Maria Machado. There is definitely a sense of humor in its darkness, and I look forward to more work from Roupenian.

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