- About the Book
These articles, reprinted from various volumes of Shakespeare Survey, concern three plays which have gradually become appreciated by critics and in the theatre. Since the early years of this century they have been seen as an interrelated group, with a peculiarly twentieth-century appeal. Measure for Measure, concerned as it is with adolescents' first encounters with sex, love and death, has a special appeal for young people; Troilus and Cressida, set in the Trojan War, has been found deeply relevant to our own war-troubled times; and All's Well That Ends Well, sharing these preoccupations, is a necessary companion piece. John Barton, who has directed all three plays, is interviewed in one of the articles, which together illustrate the often heated controversy about the plays. Reviews and photographs of post-war productions at Stratford are also included. The book as a whole is designed as a stimulating introduction to these plays and to conflicting interpretations of them.
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.
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
—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.