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Cat Person {short fiction} (2019)

Tekijä: Kristen Roupenian

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
267905,474 (2.91)4
She thought, brightly, This is the worst life decision I have ever made! And she marvelled at herself for a while, at the mystery of this person who'd just done this bizarre, inexplicable thing. Margot meets Robert. They exchange numbers. They text, flirt and eventually have sex - the type of sex you attempt to forget. How could one date go so wrong? Everything that takes place in Cat Personhappens to countless people every day. But Cat Personis not an everyday story. In less than a week, Kristen Roupenian's New Yorkerdebut became the most read and shared short story in their website's history. This is the bad date that went viral. This is the conversation we're all having. This gift edition contains photographs by celebrated photographer Elinor Carucci, who was commissioned by theNew Yorker to capture the image that accompanied Kristen Roupenian's Cat Person when it appeared in the magazine. You Know You Want This, Kristen Roupenian's debut collection, will be published in February 2019.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Re-read: Feb 28, 2022
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Had me thinking about the reasons I like Miranda July. This story is similar in that way. You get a cringey peek behind the curtain of a person (character).

I liked reading the Q&A, linked below, after reading the story. For me it helped to solidify some of the issues. This paragraph resonated with me "it speaks to the way that many women, especially young women, move through the world: not making people angry, taking responsibility for other people's emotions, working extremely hard to keep everyone around them happy. It's reflexive and self-protective, and it's also exhausting, and if you do it long enough you stop consciously noticing all the individual moments when you're making that choice."
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Available from The New Yorker for free: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/11/cat-person. I also found a copy of the story, read by the author on the iPhone Podcast app.

Q&A - Kristen Roupenian on the Self-Deceptions of Dating: https://www.newyorker.com/books/this-week-in-fiction/fiction-this-week-kristen-r....

Wow, Twist --> Article about the real-life person that the story is partly based on: https://slate.com/human-interest/2021/07/cat-person-kristen-roupenian-viral-stor... ( )
  Corinne2020 | Aug 22, 2021 |
Flirtatious texting
boring movie, awful sex
no one got murdered. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
I suppose the problem with short stories is finding a way to bring them to a satisfying conclusion within the word limit. Sadly, Roupenian fails to manage this in her short story for New Yorker that subsequently went viral. The first 50 pages of this tiny novella are a well-crafted tale of the events leading up to, and happening on, Margot and Robert’s first date. The last six pages, though, suggest that Roupenian reached a point and either ran out of ideas, space or time, and suddenly brought in the final e-mail exchanges. I feel poor Robert deserved better. ( )
  TheEllieMo | Jan 18, 2020 |
Hated every character, but damn it is a really well done story. ( )
  alailiander | Oct 24, 2019 |
'Cat Person' works well enough because it can be interpreted in a number of ways, as a good short story should. This is why it went viral some months ago: everyone who read it could have an opinion on it. But this open-endedness also proves its major flaw, because it has allowed a misandrist interpretation of the story to dominate.

It follows the clumsy courtship of Margot and Robert, neither of whom come out well from the story. He is the skittish, twice-shy, slightly-over-the-hill male whose attempted navigation of the dating minefield comes from the not-recommended map of pornography and wishful thinking. She is an immature, scatter-brained nightmare woman, who conflates her smallest insecurities into huge dramas and belittles the flaws she finds in Robert as a way of asserting power over someone she is intimidated by. One of the most revealing lines of the story is this: "She was starting to think that she understood him – how sensitive he was, how easily he could be wounded – and that made her feel closer to him, and also powerful, because once she knew how to hurt him she also knew how he could be soothed."

I found this even-handed approach rather gratifying, and I always find it interesting that female writers write more cuttingly about other females than men do, who tend to either idealize or degrade them. While Roupenian is not particularly good as a writer with regards to style, structure or dialogue (in all of these respects, the writing is analogous to erotic fan-fiction), she does seem to write perceptively – if a little carelessly – about human interactions.

I say 'carelessly' for a reason, which I will explain. The maddening thing about the story is that sometimes Roupenian seems to get it. She will make an observation, either in 'Cat Person' or in the useful New Yorker interview accompanying it, and it will become clear that she is interested in character, and has crafted the story with a care that both Margot and Robert can be pitied and criticized legitimately. They text emojis at one another, for Pete's sake, because they are both too dim and emotional to have a conversation with words. But the self-regarding, fashionable-feminist types (as opposed to real feminists), who think that a hashtag counts as brave political activism, plucked 'Cat Person' from obscurity to place it on a pedestal as an example of '#MeToo'. They took a perfectly serviceable, multi-faceted story and, by popularizing it, made it into an 'ugh, men, amirite?' story.

So I say 'carelessly' because Roupenian seems to be happy to allow this clumsy interpretation to have become the only 'right' way of reading the story. No wonder really, because she seems to have inexplicably parleyed this mediocre example of the writer's craft into a $1 million book deal, on the back of its viral success (there's a reason identity politics continues to plague our societies – it pays). Fair play to her – a writer needs to make bread, after all – but it is disappointing that it has been misappropriated into this casually man-hating milieu without any pushback from the author. The strength of the story (that it could be interpreted in different ways) became a flaw when it succeeded solely as this "omg! this story is me! #metoo #catperson" interpretation. To them, Margot is a heroine and Robert a scumbag. Considering the self-regard here, and in many of the popular viral responses to the story, if 'Cat Person' had been written as a piece of satire it would have been one of the greatest satires of all time. And the most meta. But it wasn't.

It is a shame that, because of its very success, the nuance of the story has been lost. Because consider this: Men – especially failing men – are considered disposable in our society, particularly among the chattering classes, and it is to our shame that we – "we" – are so willing to justify Margot's damaging capriciousness whilst laughing at Robert's wretchedness. She emerges from the story in much better shape than him. She chose to have bad sex, sure, and many people seem to think a penis is the worst penalty, but by the end of the story she has already moved on. She will go on to say 'ugh, men' and laugh about it with her imaginary future boyfriend, who she identifies even while she is in bed with Robert. Such a boyfriend won't stay imaginary for long, and we already have a potential name ('Albert'). She is with her friends again, and furthers Robert's public humiliation with the 'Secret Service' stunt and by reading his personal, heartfelt texts together with her friend Tamara.

He is alone in that bar. That "entire secret drama [that] had played out in his head" might have been shrugged off by Margot and by the readers who take a feminist line on the story. But it cannot be shrugged off by him. He is insecure and aging and, what is worse, he is expected to take it all on the chin, not only in the story but in the reader's mind. His fantasies were not utopian – like hers, about marriage and a big, strong lumberjack man who will make all her problems go away – but simply the wishful fantasy of having a connection with someone that he could scarcely believe would want him, and then having it ripped away from him again, just because he was awkward about it or a bad kisser, or because she was flighty anyway. She can laugh it all off now, with her friends. There'll be plenty more, she'll think, and maybe she could even write a story about it one day.

He has only his cats. He is, after all, a 'cat person'. And not only that – he is now a public anecdote for a conceited little girl to deliver mockingly, showing how pathetic men are. This sentence passed upon him will be confirmed by millions of retweets and cruel misandrist glee. The empty word 'whore' was the last, paltry thing he could throw back at them all, and they will condemn him even for that, as if it was the worst thing. He will, I think, go home from that bar and kill himself. They'll find him weeks later, among his cats. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 1, 2018 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Teoksen kanoninen nimi
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
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Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
This record is for the standalone which was originally published in The New Yorker then published in more traditional venues.
Do not combine with "You Know You Want This: Cat Person and Other Short Stories", which is a collection of stories that includes this one.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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She thought, brightly, This is the worst life decision I have ever made! And she marvelled at herself for a while, at the mystery of this person who'd just done this bizarre, inexplicable thing. Margot meets Robert. They exchange numbers. They text, flirt and eventually have sex - the type of sex you attempt to forget. How could one date go so wrong? Everything that takes place in Cat Personhappens to countless people every day. But Cat Personis not an everyday story. In less than a week, Kristen Roupenian's New Yorkerdebut became the most read and shared short story in their website's history. This is the bad date that went viral. This is the conversation we're all having. This gift edition contains photographs by celebrated photographer Elinor Carucci, who was commissioned by theNew Yorker to capture the image that accompanied Kristen Roupenian's Cat Person when it appeared in the magazine. You Know You Want This, Kristen Roupenian's debut collection, will be published in February 2019.

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