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
Branch Call Number: FIC Roupe
Characteristics: 225 pages ;,24 cm
Additional Contributors: Roupenian, Kristen


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SPL_HEATHERL Feb 06, 2019

Please see summary section for a full review of this book

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SPL_HEATHERL Feb 06, 2019

Please see summary section for a full review of this book


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SPL_HEATHERL Feb 06, 2019

We know that well written novels don't always make us feel good, that a book can be an excellent read, yet still make the reader feel uncomfortable. A good book can challenge our opinions and its stories can stay with us long after we've put
it down. And there are times we dwell on what we've read and discuss it eagerly with others. Kristen Roupenian's You Know You Want This: Cat Person and Other Stories is just such a book. It's a collection of short stores, so brilliantly crafted and diverse in content that the reader is taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions as they move through the twelve tales of women asserting themselves and taking back their power in frightening ways. A caveat here, Roupenian’s stories are not for the faint of heart. She has described this as a collection of horror stories and many of them fall comfortably into that genre.
One of the stories, Cat Person, was published in The New Yorker in 2017 to great critical acclaim. It is the story of Margot and Robert and their cringingly bad first date. Cat Person appeared at a time when we heard the first stirrings of the Me Too movement, and the way twenty year old student, Margot asserts control over thirty-something Robert, crushing his obsessive feelings for her is an uncomfortable reversal of the stories we have seen played out in the media. Roupenian has said that she feels much of the success of this story is due to the fact that the reader is able to debate a fictional experience parallel to the discussions of the Me Too movement. Ultimately we are left questioning who wins in the game of control between these two people - Margot or Robert. One is rejected, but the other can maintain contact and power through stalking and text messages.
Roupenian's stories are full of twists and turns, and as a reader one becomes impatient to see each one unfold. The Mirror the Bucket, and the Old Thigh Bone, begins as a classic fairy tale about a princess choosing a husband and ends with unexpected ugliness and horror. Biter introduces us to four
year old Ellie who has an irresistible urge to bite her classmates at the local preschool. After one such biting incident Ellie doesn’t consider biting again until she's in her 20's, exacting her revenge on a coworker. Here are more echoes of Me Too, again in reverse.
You Know You Want This is at times bizarre and surprising, fascinating and frightening, but we, the voyeurs, just can't stop reading. Skillfully written, Roupenian's short stores are to be turned into a drama by HBO.
I highly recommend this to anyone that might like to dip into some unconventional and challenging writing.

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