When “Cat Person” appeared in 2018 in the New Yorker, Kristen Roupenian was immediately caught up in a fervor of critical attention. Her short story resonated strongly with readers who clamored for more information about Roupenian and scoured for any other works she may have produced. You Know You Want This, due for release in January 2019, addresses this demand by collecting eleven additional stories written by the popular author. “Cat Person” remains the strongest of the lot, but this book contains some other strong entries as well. Roupenian seems most comfortable constructing the contemporary stories, like “Look at Your Game Girl” and “The Good Guy,” addressing themes of self-respect and miscommunication between the sexes. She also experiments with some traditional forms of fairy tales, folklore, and the occult to a varying degree of success, as in “Scarred” and “The Mirror, the Bucket and the Thigh Bone.” Some readers may be put off by the eroticism and sexual violence contained in a few of the stories, but its inclusion is not excessive or gratuitous and has a purpose in terms of the thematic objectives. You Know You Want This proves that Kristen Roupenian is not a one-hit author but an interesting and strong new voice for these times.
Thanks to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an objective review.