You Know You Want This
From the author of “Cat Person”—“the short story that launched a thousand theories” (The Guardian)—comes Kristen Roupenian's highly anticipated debut, 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.”

You Know You Want This Details

TitleYou Know You Want This
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 15th, 2019
PublisherGallery/Scout Press
ISBN-139781982101633
Rating
GenreShort Stories, Fiction, Horror, Literature

You Know You Want This Review

  • Meike
    January 1, 1970
    I went into this equally curious and suspicious: I applaud a writer who gets the internet talking about a short story (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...), but the hype around Roupenian's debut collection has gathered proportions that invite some kind of backlash. Looking at the actual material, the book as a whole is a little uneven and in parts feels underdeveloped, but hell, this is an exciting writer who has the potential to go places. Roupenian ventures into the darker recesses of the I went into this equally curious and suspicious: I applaud a writer who gets the internet talking about a short story (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...), but the hype around Roupenian's debut collection has gathered proportions that invite some kind of backlash. Looking at the actual material, the book as a whole is a little uneven and in parts feels underdeveloped, but hell, this is an exciting writer who has the potential to go places. Roupenian ventures into the darker recesses of the human mind, where all things weird, disgusting, and irrational reside, and her gift is to describe them in a way that the underlying tendencies of the characters suddenly seem alarmingly familiar or even relatable. Another special quality of these stories, which center around more or less dysfunctional human relationships, is that they painfully depict ambiguity (which is the core of the whole "Cat Person" controversy, IMHO). I appreciate this kind of storytelling which negotiates the dynamics of the rational and the emotional, of the strong suits and the flaws inside and between human beings. Roupenian takes the perspective of men and women often possessed by their subconscious - or even conscious - urges: The bachelorette party where a former teen idol gets invited and objectified, the young woman who is or is not eaten up by a parasite (or by her unhappy relationship), the kids' birthday party that becomes a standoff with the stepmother, the "nice guy" who exploits female weaknesses (or are the women in fact exploiting him?), and - I particularly liked that one - a horror tale about a princess who falls in love with a smelly contraption. The majority of these stories are inventive and memorable, but - similar to Moshfegh's Homesick for Another World - there is sometimes a thin line between flashy stories aiming to shock and shocking stories aiming to reveal a deeper message. When I read the first story of this collection, "Bad Boy", which is about dependence, control and violence, I was initally disappointed because it is so effect-driven, at the expense of psychological believability (what's up with the guy they manipulate?) and subtlety. But I will cut this debut author some slack, and I am extremely curious what she will do next.Thanks to Aufbau/Blumenbar for the review copy, and kudos to the people responsible for the cover design - this edition looks much nicer than the ones you get in English!
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  • Jessica Sullivan
    January 1, 1970
    If you were alive and online in 2018, you probably read and talked about Kristen Roupenian’s short story, “Cat Person.” Well, get ready for her debut collection, because it’s here and ready to punch you in the gut—or, perhaps more aptly, bite your face off.Drawing comparisons to Carmen Maria Machado and Ottessa Moshfegh, this dark, perverse, macabre collection explores relationships with a distinct focus on power dynamics. The subjects are mostly women, and they are at times the victims and the If you were alive and online in 2018, you probably read and talked about Kristen Roupenian’s short story, “Cat Person.” Well, get ready for her debut collection, because it’s here and ready to punch you in the gut—or, perhaps more aptly, bite your face off.Drawing comparisons to Carmen Maria Machado and Ottessa Moshfegh, this dark, perverse, macabre collection explores relationships with a distinct focus on power dynamics. The subjects are mostly women, and they are at times the victims and the villains.In one story, a young woman uses black magic to summon her dream man—and then slowly drains him of his blood to use in other spells. An office worker with a compulsion for biting waits for the perfect opportunity to rip into her coworker’s face. A little girl blows out her birthday candles and wishes for “something mean.” And in a story that feels like a counterpart to “Cat Person,” Roupenian deconstructs the common trope of the Nice Guy™. This collection is visceral, depraved and deeply uncomfortable—but if you’re anything like me, it’s hard to resist the allure of fiction that probes the hidden depths of humanity, those taboo thoughts and feelings we don’t dare allow to the surface.
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  • John Decker
    January 1, 1970
    There are three stories in this that are terribly clunky and out of place. I cannot bring myself to give it five stars. But the remainder of these are fantastically disgusting. This collection takes the absurd and wince-worthy all the way — sometimes for ambiguous, sometimes sociopolitical reasons — and I am here for it.
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  • Jessica Woodbury
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsI don't blame anyone for wanting to immediately capitalize on the massive success of "Cat Person" by getting a collection of stories out as soon as possible, but I can still wish they'd waited a bit until the collection was more solid and cohesive.I do not mind so much that the stories here can vary quite widely in theme, style, and genre. But there are two or three particular buckets you can sort them into rather than a mosaic of a wide variety of styles, leaving it feeling like a few 3.5 starsI don't blame anyone for wanting to immediately capitalize on the massive success of "Cat Person" by getting a collection of stories out as soon as possible, but I can still wish they'd waited a bit until the collection was more solid and cohesive.I do not mind so much that the stories here can vary quite widely in theme, style, and genre. But there are two or three particular buckets you can sort them into rather than a mosaic of a wide variety of styles, leaving it feeling like a few separate things haphazardly stitched together. I could forgive that more easily if the stories were of similar quality, but Roupenian's stories about the darkness within sex and relationships are so much better than the others that I wanted a whole book of just them. How much I would have loved a book of stories pushing into these themes of aggression and violence and repression and fear! The first couple of stories fit into this group and were two of my favorites, particularly the first story "Bad Boy." And there was another strong run through the middle with "Cat Person" and "The Good Guy," which look at the unspoken resentments and fears of opposite-sex relationships from different sides, they go really nicely one after the other. Roupenian's use of fantastical elements was more hit and miss, some of her preferred themes are there but the sudden appearance of the fantastic sometimes feels less like an unexpected twist and more like a cop out that leaves the most interesting stuff unexamined. I already knew Roupenian was talented, and I hope that her next work has a little more time to work itself out so we can see what more she can do.
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  • Jaclyn Crupi
    January 1, 1970
    A collection of mediocre short stories, nothing more, nothing less.
  • LittleSophie
    January 1, 1970
    These stories were a mixed bag and my suspicion is, that the publisher asked Roupenian, after the phenomenal success of Cat Person, if she had any other stories to publish. A lot of them feel quite unpolished and young, relying on shock value and overstretching the point. Cat Person, with its razor sharp observations and truthfulness, still surpasses the other stories by miles. Some stories were intriguing, but most of them lacked the mature style of her famous story.I'm very much looking forwar These stories were a mixed bag and my suspicion is, that the publisher asked Roupenian, after the phenomenal success of Cat Person, if she had any other stories to publish. A lot of them feel quite unpolished and young, relying on shock value and overstretching the point. Cat Person, with its razor sharp observations and truthfulness, still surpasses the other stories by miles. Some stories were intriguing, but most of them lacked the mature style of her famous story.I'm very much looking forward to her upcoming novel, though.
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  • Janelle | She Reads with Cats
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much Gallery Books for my free copy of YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS: “Cat Person and Other Stories” -This collection is illustrious, unsettling, provocative, compulsive, and at times, villainous. I loved all twelve stories in very different ways but they all have the same cohesive, sharply written voice.In the opening story, “Bad Boy”, a couple takes in a friend who has just been through a breakup and begins to use him in ruthless ways. In the story “Sardines”, an off putting 11-year-old Thank you so much Gallery Books for my free copy of YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS: “Cat Person and Other Stories” -This collection is illustrious, unsettling, provocative, compulsive, and at times, villainous. I loved all twelve stories in very different ways but they all have the same cohesive, sharply written voice.In the opening story, “Bad Boy”, a couple takes in a friend who has just been through a breakup and begins to use him in ruthless ways. In the story “Sardines”, an off putting 11-year-old girl makes an evil wish for her birthday. In “Cat Person”, published earlier in the New Yorker and the driving force for this brilliant collection, a twenty something college student goes on a date with an older guy where emotions are played upon. One of my favorites in the collection “The Good Guy” is its polar opposite but both simultaneously and quite oppositely deal with sex and power and compliment each other perfectly.The collection varies in theme and each story is seared into my mind, whether because it’s relatable or the stuff of nightmares. Trust me, you will not be bored with this collection - I loved it all! Roupenian is an impressive writer and I am excited to see what she comes out with next!
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  • Gaby Lee
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 such a great collection of short stories; visceral, compelling, often deeply unsettling. If Difficult Women by Roxane Gay and Her Bodies and Other Parties had a love child
  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    Read on submission and was insanely impressed. Still thinking about many of these stories.
  • Jenna
    January 1, 1970
    3.5-4 stars. Thanks to @gallerybooks for sharing this book with me! You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian is a wonderfully strange and oddly relatable short story collection. Many of her stories made me cringe but the way she captures true thoughts and feelings that may be hard to admit felt really unique. I love Kristin’s voice and I read this collection in just a couple of sittings - every time I finished a story, I wanted more, which is pretty unusual for me!Standouts for me were Look a 3.5-4 stars. Thanks to @gallerybooks for sharing this book with me! You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian is a wonderfully strange and oddly relatable short story collection. Many of her stories made me cringe but the way she captures true thoughts and feelings that may be hard to admit felt really unique. I love Kristin’s voice and I read this collection in just a couple of sittings - every time I finished a story, I wanted more, which is pretty unusual for me!Standouts for me were Look at Your Game, Girl, about a girl who thinks she narrowly avoided being kidnapped instead of Polly Klaas after meeting a shady older man at a park, The Good Guy, about how a long-time crush leads a “nice guy” to become kind of a jerk but really he wants to be wanted, The Boy in the Pool about girlhood friendships and crushes on your friends and a bachelorette party stunt, and Biter, about an office worker who just wants to bite people and finally figures out how to get away with it.There were also stories about a couple who forces their friend into a weird sexual relationship with them, a child’s birthday wish of revenge, a Peace Corp volunteer who can’t handle the out of control girls he’s supposed to be teaching, a princess who falls in love with her reflection, and more. Some of them are pretty explicit sexually, and some have violent elements, just to warn you in case you’re sensitive to that!If you liked Cat Person and you’re down for some weird but true feeling stories, I’d definitely recommend picking this one up! Her voice is refreshing and real, even though some stories are “messed up” in a depraved sort of way. Overall, I really enjoyed this collection!
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  • Chihoe Ho
    January 1, 1970
    What a weird yet thought-provoking bunch of stories! It was my first time reading the viral sensation that was Cat Person through this colection, and while it truly is a piece of engaging reading as part of the current #MeToo movement, there are definitely much stronger stories in this book. That said, there are also some very awkward pieces that didn't resonate as strongly, and made You Know You Want This an uneven read, even if the discrete short stories were meant for individual consumption.
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  • Chris Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    The especially vulnerable, short story collection, lacking a cohesive narrative,jammed together, each tale's spirit not resurrected, competing words and author's ego, congeal, congregate and conceal, separateness is lost. #poemChris Roberts, God Suddenly
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Full review to follow
  • Tess
    January 1, 1970
    This book by Kristen Roupenian is far and away the best collection of short stories I have ever read. I have never not been able to put down a short story collection, I usually go very slowly because there is nothing to keep my attention. Roupenian is in a completely different league though. Each story is so different, some mystical and horrific, some completely grounded in reality and focusing on details about love, relationships, and gender that I have never seen any author get as well as she This book by Kristen Roupenian is far and away the best collection of short stories I have ever read. I have never not been able to put down a short story collection, I usually go very slowly because there is nothing to keep my attention. Roupenian is in a completely different league though. Each story is so different, some mystical and horrific, some completely grounded in reality and focusing on details about love, relationships, and gender that I have never seen any author get as well as she does. After every story, I was eager to keep going to see what the next one would be about, what crazy journey Roupenian would take me on and how it would affect me. I laughed, I was scared, I related the women dealing with the terrible men in her stories. I simultaneously want to buy a copy for everyone I know but not let on how much I love the disturbing twists and turns each story contains. I cannot wait to read everything by Roupenian after this, and so glad I was able to devour this ahead of publication. It feels like a secret that everyone will be talking about come January. Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books for this ARC.
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    WHAT THE FU*K DID I JUST READ AND WHY DID I LOVE EACH AND EVERY GORGEOUSLY WRITTEN STORY SOOOO MUCH?!?!?!?!Now that I have that out of my system I honestly don't know where to start...this collection of short stories has skyrocketed to one of my favorite collection that fast...yes I know I sound like a crazy person with all my rambling but I honestly loved each and every story in this collection. EACH and EVERY STORY...I can't put into words how they made me feel because my feelings are still al WHAT THE FU*K DID I JUST READ AND WHY DID I LOVE EACH AND EVERY GORGEOUSLY WRITTEN STORY SOOOO MUCH?!?!?!?!Now that I have that out of my system I honestly don't know where to start...this collection of short stories has skyrocketed to one of my favorite collection that fast...yes I know I sound like a crazy person with all my rambling but I honestly loved each and every story in this collection. EACH and EVERY STORY...I can't put into words how they made me feel because my feelings are still all over the map. Kristen Roupenian is a force....and I can't wait to get sucked up and spit out by her again!Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the ARC!
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    Wow this book instantly grabbed me. Will admit I already read the Story CAT PERSON. Which is what initially interested me in this book and once I started I could barely put it down. As I was that eager to keep going along with the stories and read the next one. Read it over and in under 36 hours.which can be rare at least for me when it comes to short story collections. Usually i want to prolong good books and writing, but before I knew it I was flowing right through these stories. Which isn’t e Wow this book instantly grabbed me. Will admit I already read the Story CAT PERSON. Which is what initially interested me in this book and once I started I could barely put it down. As I was that eager to keep going along with the stories and read the next one. Read it over and in under 36 hours.which can be rare at least for me when it comes to short story collections. Usually i want to prolong good books and writing, but before I knew it I was flowing right through these stories. Which isn’t easy considering how heavy some of these stories are subject wise. You are welcomed into this world and only start to notice too late that you may have gotten in deeper than expected. You might want to leave but then you realize you are not in some alternative universe but one all too real and familiar This is one dark imagination at work. Though it is also talent that allows her to take you into these tales where you get the characters mindsets so vividly as well as story and plot. Though they might be considered monsters as far as characters. She takes you into their thoughts to reveal the all too human emotions and desires that they all have. The tales don’t actually exhibit any heroes or too many happy endings, but they do showcase more of a dark side of humanity. That is scarily relatable to the reader. This is like watching the work of filmmaker Todd solodnz (WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, HAPPINESS) only with less humor and while not as sadistic there is an innocent maliciousness to the stories and characters. That while they are normal they go into some interesting places. That feel familiar and tap into thoughts and experiences some might have had or heard about and gives you a point of view of the not so innocent ones. Highly recommended
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  • Kaycie Hall
    January 1, 1970
    More of a 3.5—some good stories in this collection, some weaker ones but I enjoyed reading it. “Cat Person” was definitely the stand out but I also enjoyed “The Matchbox Sign” and “Look at Your Game, Girl.” Her style reminds me of a mix between Aimee Bender, Mary Gaitskill and Kelly Link.
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  • Susie Wang
    January 1, 1970
    If you've read Cat Person, you get the idea. The writing is really engaging, resonating. It just wakes up emotions in you. This voice does have power to reach a generation that has forgotten the beauty of reading. So I guess that's why Cat Person went viral in the first place.As for the stories, they're actually quite original. Granted, I haven't read that many short story collections or short stories themselves for that matter. But I think I rarely read short stories because they fail to grab m If you've read Cat Person, you get the idea. The writing is really engaging, resonating. It just wakes up emotions in you. This voice does have power to reach a generation that has forgotten the beauty of reading. So I guess that's why Cat Person went viral in the first place.As for the stories, they're actually quite original. Granted, I haven't read that many short story collections or short stories themselves for that matter. But I think I rarely read short stories because they fail to grab my attention. And the stories here did grab my attention, and held it. I can't tell you if this is a masterpiece or literary gem. I have no idea what that looks like. But this collection was fun to read, and offers something new. Each story has a different idea behind it, no repetition at all here. So I'm a happy reader. Really interested in what the author has in store after this. She's supposedly working on a full length novel. Can't wait to read it.
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  • Paris (parisperusing)
    January 1, 1970
    "Mom and Dad had heard of Charles Manson, but they didn't want to talk about him at the dinner table. ... What would they think if they knew she'd been approached by some nasty-looking guy, a guy who'd shoved his filthy thumb in her mouth and thought the Manson murders were the best thing ever? Her mom and dad would be so upset. They would be so scared. The thought made her feel brave." — from "Look at Your Game, Girl"Men fall into dark, hypnotic states of submission with dire consequences; litt "Mom and Dad had heard of Charles Manson, but they didn't want to talk about him at the dinner table. ... What would they think if they knew she'd been approached by some nasty-looking guy, a guy who'd shoved his filthy thumb in her mouth and thought the Manson murders were the best thing ever? Her mom and dad would be so upset. They would be so scared. The thought made her feel brave." — from "Look at Your Game, Girl"Men fall into dark, hypnotic states of submission with dire consequences; little girls encounter monsters, some of their own creation, others like serial killers; relationships are soured, feelings are hurt, sex becomes a nuisance — Kristen Roupenian's YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT has everything you could want from a story collection. If Maryse Meijer was ever to have an equal, it would certainly be Kristen, but this would definitely appeal to fans of Carmen Maria Machado's HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES, too. Kristen writes with a sense of horror and insanity and empathy that is fully fleshed out to make an out of body reading experience.Superb.
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  • Aiyana
    January 1, 1970
    Perhaps my only complaint with this book is that the story "Cat Person" didn't involve nearly as much cat as I had hoped. It wasn't my favorite story of the collection, either; I didn't find any surprises in it, having more or less lived through some variation of the same story myself (as I suspect many women have.) The other stories, though, all had marvelous twists to them. The author neatly walks a line between horror and humor, infusing gritty, disturbing tales with a wry levity and a keen e Perhaps my only complaint with this book is that the story "Cat Person" didn't involve nearly as much cat as I had hoped. It wasn't my favorite story of the collection, either; I didn't find any surprises in it, having more or less lived through some variation of the same story myself (as I suspect many women have.) The other stories, though, all had marvelous twists to them. The author neatly walks a line between horror and humor, infusing gritty, disturbing tales with a wry levity and a keen eye for the absurd. I found this collection vaguely reminiscent of the work of Miranda July. As with July's work, the reader of Roupenian's book will find it difficult to decide whether these pieces are more disconcerting for their outlandishness or their relatability.
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  • Charlotte
    January 1, 1970
    This was a GoodReads giveaway win.Even as I type this up, I'm still not certain four stars is correct. These stories are wildly original. Some aren't really even stories because they don't seem to go anywhere. I don't particularly like this book, but I don't dislike like it either. Some of the stories are dark, others are twisted, others compelling, you just don't know what you'll get with that next short. I don't think it will never your interest, that's for dure.
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  • Andrew Moore
    January 1, 1970
    I really dug this. Roupenian has such a unique and interesting mind that makes for an entertaining and thought provoking read. I agree with some of the others that this book is not perfect but don't let that deter you. There is so much here to enjoy, with a take on current social issues that is singular and twisted without sacrificing humanity and understanding. Favorites: Biter, Scarred, The Good Guy, Cat Person, The Boy in the Pool, Sardines
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  • Whitney
    January 1, 1970
    Like everyone else, I loooooovvvveeee “Cat Person.” There were a lot of stories in this collection I loved almost as much. But I agree with one reviewer who said her formula is pretty clear by the third story. So while every single story in this collection is really enjoyable, they aren’t all nearly as brilliant.
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  • Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    Really loved "The Mirror, the Bucket, and the Old Thigh Bone," and enjoyed some others quite a bit ("Bad Boy", "Look at Your Game Girl", "Cat Person", "Boy in the Pool", & "The Matchbox Sign") but the weak ones (and particularly weak story-endings) brought this down to three stars overall for me.
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  • Sasha
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely hands down best short story collection I have read in YEARS. This woman is twisted enough to make the whole Avenged Sevenfold band and their production crew slightly uncomfortable. I am deeply in love with her. Also if you haven't read Cat Person, what are you doing? https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...
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  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    These stories are all soooooooo good! Make me want to write.
  • Anabel (inthebookcorner)
    January 1, 1970
    One of my favorite books I've read this year, and I'm not just saying it because it's a Gallery/Scout Press title. Can't wait for everyone to read this in January. I've yet to read anything like it!
  • mi4444d
    January 1, 1970
    I reviewed this book for some editor friend and enjoyed it very much. Stories like Cat person are more authentic and rich with details, I personally like these better than those noir grown-up tales. Kirsten is really good at describing the female desires and showing the messy, nasty, ugly and even dangerous sides of women. This would definitely help to break the stereotypes of "women".I'm looking forward to the future work of this author and hope there will be some novel.
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  • Susan Csoke
    January 1, 1970
    Diversified Stories >>> Some Strange >> Some Dark >> Some Intense. Good reading. Thankyou Goodreads for this free book!!!!
  • Elijah Oakes Benson
    January 1, 1970
    "Cat Person" debuted at its most relevant hour, and contributed to a discussion about consent and relationships that still ripples today. In this collection, Roupenian is still casting pebbles; some will reverberate for longer than others. As with many collections of short stories, "You Know You Want This" is inconsistent. Some of the stories ("Sardines") feel like half-hearted attempts at a target page-count. Others will tumble around untill you've smoothed their edges, at the cost of your own "Cat Person" debuted at its most relevant hour, and contributed to a discussion about consent and relationships that still ripples today. In this collection, Roupenian is still casting pebbles; some will reverberate for longer than others. As with many collections of short stories, "You Know You Want This" is inconsistent. Some of the stories ("Sardines") feel like half-hearted attempts at a target page-count. Others will tumble around untill you've smoothed their edges, at the cost of your own preconceptions. Roupenian has the unique ability to dissect people and relationships with surgical precision and reassemble them into grotesque, educational monstrosities. The best stories in this collection ("The Good Guy," "Biter," to name a few) are surreal and viscerally uncomfortable. And so, so compelling. Roupenian is an author to keep an eye on, both if possible.
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