Cover of You Know You Want This: "cat Person" and Other Stories
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You Know You Want This: "cat Person" and Other Stories

By: Kristen Roupenian


Imprint: Gallery/Scout Press

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781982101633

Other Formats:

Electronic | Audio

On Sale: | Pages: 240

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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."
The tone of the dozen mostly macabre stories ranges from realistic to Gothic to truly horrific. Roupenian deftly captures the #MeToo zeitgeist in "Cat Person," which went viral when it was originally published in the New Yorker.... Roupenian's twisted imagination just may haunt your nightmares.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
I had the privilege of reading all 12 stories in Roupenian's debut, “You Know You Want This,” largely unaware of the singular life of “Cat Person,” and free from preconceived notions or expectations. I was really surprised by what I read — by how exciting, smart, perceptive, weird and dark this collection is. The stories are stylistically consistent, but thematically so distinct that reading them felt like binge-watching 12 completely different, intense movies.... As varied as Roupenian's stories are, they all clearly come from the same brain, one of those brains that feel out-of-this-world brilliant and also completely askew — like those of Karen Russell, George Saunders, Mary Gaitskill.... 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.
—New York Times
Roupenian shares 12 vivid, keenly observational and often highly uncomfortable tales on such subjects as romantic relationships turned sour, supremely mean children and, of course, what it means to be a woman.... Roupenian is skilled at forcing her readers to confront some painful truths, but her questions about life and society form a foundation for the wild situations in which her characters find themselves.... Some may balk at the work of a “viral” celebrity, but trust me when I say that YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS proves that Roupenian's instant rise to fame was no mistake.
It does nobody any good, least of all the author, to pretend that the other stories in this collection are anywhere near as noteworthy or polished as "Cat Person." They are student work, and they trumpet their influences baldly.... Roupenian is great with those grisly, gory details; she writes them with wit and humor and glee. It's as if they provide a needed release from the strictures of reality, of the tedious work of making meaning.... There are other stories here that almost rise to the level of "Cat Person," like "Nice Guy," which does the same close-third-person, flickering-shifts-between-arousal-and-revulsion thing, but from a male perspective. But my favorite is the final story in the collection, "The Biter," which is about a girl who discovers a love of biting in preschool.
—Washington Post
This is a dull, needy book. The desire to seem shocking — as opposed to a curiosity about thresholds physical and ethical — tends to produce provocation of a very plaintive sort.... Roupenian will work a metaphor until it screams.... The collection will be a series on HBO. “You Know You Want This” has a quarry's worth of raw suffering; maybe in the adaptation, we won't be just shocked, but shocked into something — into a kind of understanding or feeling. That's what I know I want.
—New York Times
...a scintillating new debut collection, with a glorious revenge comedy at its center.... Roupenian — who proves astonishingly deft at depicting the warped psychology of romantic entanglement, and finding the black humor in it — conjures the “endless rounds of jealousy and harm” that follow unrequited longing.... “Cat Person” was our tip-off to pay attention to what Roupenian did next. Now that it's here, well, you know you want it.
—Boston Globe
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