The New Yorker says the response to Kristen Roupenian’s “Cat Person” story that took Twitter by storm was “record-breaking.” The popular short story may have been the deciding factor in the book deal she just landed for her debut short story collection, You Know You Want This. The Guardian reports the collection was sold to UK publisher Jonathan Cape during a U.S. auction where 11 bidders reportedly upped the price tag to a whopping $1 million.
“I was submitted the collection on Tuesday. By Wednesday, I had bought the book. She’s the real deal,” Cape’s Michal Shavit told The Guardian. “Cat Person captured the public imagination to become a phenomenon. You see that so rarely in literary fiction. It’s an extraordinary story of human relationships and the sexual dynamics between a man and a woman, the power plays within that. It doesn’t just play into the #MeToo thing—she just writes very honestly and truthfully about the human experience.”
“Cat Person” tells the story of how one young student’s foray with an older man goes to absolute sh*t. Since the story was published, many women have expressed how “compelling” and “relatable” the story is.
After “Cat Person” exploded across social media, Jenni Russell, a writer for The Times of London, wrote: “What makes ‘Cat Person’ extraordinary is that it takes us inside the head of the female protagonist, Margot, and explains her hopes, self-delusions, anxieties, longings, and inconsistencies with such clarity that women everywhere are responding with the shock of recognition: this is my life, my thoughts; me too!”
But others take issue with the idea that “Cat Person” is a one-size-fits-all tale. In another analysis, author Justina Ireland breaks down how the experiences illustrated in the story, though accessible in a general sense, are rooted in a default white reality that makes it difficult for many women of color to relate to. If you recall, we weren’t so moved here at CASSIUS.
Nonetheless, Roupenian is about to collect some checks. And perhaps her collection will have a bit more to offer. Shavit says Roupenian’s forthcoming debut will feature stories about a wide array of topics.
“They’re dark, they’re funny, they’re irreverent, they’re treading boundaries, and they’re very different to one another,” she said. “They’re occupying a similar space in the imagination, but they’re not all about the relationships between men and women.… I genuinely think she’s a brilliant writer.”
Haven’t read “Cat Person” yet? You can do so here.
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