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You Know You Want This: “Cat Person” and Other Stories
By Kristen Roupenian
(Gallery/Scout Press)

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Author Kristen Roupenian became an overnight literary sensation last year with the publication of her short story “Cat Person” in The New Yorker. But her new collection proves that her meteoric rise is backed up by an exacting eye for power and sexuality, desire and shame, and public versus private moments. A man grapples with his relationship history after his latest breakup turns violent. A woman tries to overcome her urge to bite a new office manager. A Tinder date culminates in a shocking request. A little girl meets a man obsessed with Charles Manson. 

“Cat Person” finds a home in this collection, too, but that is just the beginning of Roupenian’s insightful and upsetting examinations of relationships and sex. Her characters scare themselves with their desires, wrestle with internalized shame, poorly navigate the power differentials in their relationships, and grapple with change. Despite the hyper-specificity of the circumstances and the extreme nature of some scenarios, these stories are about the universally human experience of examining what we usually keep hidden. From that tension, Roupenian has crafted something haunting and exquisite. 5/5

By Bridey Henig

You Know You Want This was released January 15, 2019. This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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