February 2019 Indie Next List
“I was completely enthralled with Kristen Roupenian’s ‘Cat Person’ story in the New Yorker and couldn’t wait to pick up her collection. Like ‘Cat Person,’ each story pushes boundaries, holding a magnifying glass up to social norms and what our society accepts. The writing is fantastic, and the cadence of each story is strikingly unique. This book will delight fans of Roupenian’s viral story and will start many more conversations in its wake.”
— Courtney Flynn, Trident Booksellers & Cafe, Boston, MA
“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…The world has made a lot more sense since reading this book.” —Miranda July, New York Times bestselling author
“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.
Previously published as You Know You Want This, “Cat Person” and Other Stories 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.”
About the Author
Kristen Roupenian holds a PhD in English from Harvard, an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, and a BA from Barnard College. She is the author of the short story, “Cat Person,” which was published in The New Yorker and selected by Sheila Heti for The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2018. She is at work on a novel. Follow her on Instagram @KRoupenian.