cat person

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short stories go viral now

||||||||, Monday, 11 December 2017 10:34 (one year ago) link

lol - indeed!

read it this morning. good story imo. didn't think the ending was great tho.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 10:39 (one year ago) link

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/11/cat-person

||||||||, Monday, 11 December 2017 10:43 (one year ago) link

https://twitter.com/MenCatPerson

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 11:41 (one year ago) link

An interview with the author:

https://www.newyorker.com/books/this-week-in-fiction/fiction-this-week-kristen-roupenian-2017-12-11

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 11:57 (one year ago) link

I think this is the first time I have ever finished reading a piece of fiction published in The New Yorker #hotTake

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:10 (one year ago) link

thurber?!

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:14 (one year ago) link

nope, never got to one of is cartoons (had to google) - willing to bet his stuff is better than New yorker 'proper' fic.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:22 (one year ago) link

I have thought about picking up some Mavis Gallant after reading a non-fiction piece of hers in the New Yorker (I linked it in the ILE New Yorker thread)

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:24 (one year ago) link

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DQwmfdkUEAAkBXg.jpg

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:32 (one year ago) link

Stopped reading halfway through because it seemed like it was headed somewhere uncomfortable.

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 12:51 (one year ago) link

this discussion has somehow reminded me that my CD-ROM* of the entire new yorker ever -- which i got secondhand for not very much a few years back, for researching its music-writing in the 60s and before -- no longer works on my current mac update

*it might be something more modern than a CD-ROM, this is just a funny way to describe it

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:03 (one year ago) link

just call me thurberperson

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:12 (one year ago) link

I have those CDs! Christmas 2K5

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:13 (one year ago) link

the last line is i guess the source of a lot of the virality but i hope this doesn't sound uncharitable to say that it feels a little gimmicky? imo. maybe i'm just jealous of the narrator's awesome and funny and loving support network that hustles her out of bars when she needs it.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 11 December 2017 13:14 (one year ago) link

treesh do yrs still work?

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:20 (one year ago) link

Yeah but I don’t have an optical drive on my current macbook

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:25 (one year ago) link

I agree the last line is gimmicky but sadly not unrealistic. (Indecided to read the rest of it.) I found the story really bleak all around. There was never a genuine connection between the characters — they seemed really lost, over-aware of how they were being perceived. Even withiut the last third of the story it reminded me of why dating is so painful and brings out the worst in people, at least in the casual no-expectations way we do it now. (Not that things wee better before, probably bad in different ways.)

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:29 (one year ago) link

I wasn’t envious about any part of the narrator’s life.

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:33 (one year ago) link

Sorry for typos- walking through penn station bumping into things

treeship 2, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:34 (one year ago) link

i think it'd be more powerful if he didn't text her to call her a whore. that marks him out as slightly more villainous than if they'd just left him as a potential everyman.

i mean i don't know how many men text women to call them "whore" irl - i'm not speculating as to how common it is, but it made it easier, imo, as a man, to read it and think i'm not like him, which i'm not sure is the intention. better if it was more uncomfortable and if it was left to the reader to hang themselves.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 13:38 (one year ago) link

yes that's what i was trying to get at

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 11 December 2017 13:48 (one year ago) link

this story was unengaging bollocks tbh. read some jean rhys

imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:48 (one year ago) link

haha

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:52 (one year ago) link

*watches the whole internet be engaged in a piece of fiction for a change*

this was most unengaging read some jean rhys

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 13:53 (one year ago) link

Def recommend finishing a Donald Barthelme story fwiw

Haven't read this

sonnet by a wite kid, "On Æolian Grief" (wins), Monday, 11 December 2017 13:55 (one year ago) link

i've read everything

it was poor

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:02 (one year ago) link

the narrator didn't really feel like a character, just an observer, a receptacle for the narrative. the story's sole purpose appears to be winding up/attacking mras, which is a noble enough cause, but the writing is kind of dull and the whole thing emanates a sort of calculatingly nihilistic dysphoria that brooks neither joy nor horror. nothing is left to chance. and in its obsessive recall of detail it comes off quite superficial

imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:04 (one year ago) link

^^^too many adjectives

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:05 (one year ago) link

there are loads of good ny'er stories, obviously.

i do find it p rare that i enjoy the new ones tho. i actually found this more precise and readable than many of them tho.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:07 (one year ago) link

tho tho tho

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:07 (one year ago) link

i read it -- i haven't read a short story in the NYer in many years (if ever) and I thought it was haunting and true.

that marks him out as slightly more villainous than if they'd just left him as a potential everyman.
as i read it, he had been sitting there stewing in the bar for a while and had been drinking. i thought it was a sign of what lurks in the heart of everyman and only comes out when he is empowered with a way to send a message and effectively have the last word.

when i was her age, there was no texting but i have no doubt that average "normal" dudes had many uncharitable thoughts about me. ugh this story stung.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:08 (one year ago) link

#noteveryman

imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:11 (one year ago) link

I am not exactly worried about its quality as a story (lol like I can tell) but it carries a charge, the story does sting for sure. That's a lot than almost any fiction you'd pick up randomly like this.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:14 (one year ago) link

maybe - i dunno tho, i feel like texting someone "whore" and that whole last exchange to me feels kind of psychotic or at least mra/alt right.

i'd say a lot of men's sexism is less overt than that - exposing that, which the piece did a lot along the way, i guess, might be more difficult/interesting.

i just feel it's better when it shows the creepiness of the actually quite "normal" things he does, like the paternalistic behaviour etc, if he's this angry full misogynist creep it has less impact.

that just feels way beyond the pale to me - it suggests all his other off behaviour he is because deep down hes' this awful angry creep, rather than in fact the normal behaviour of an average man.

xpost i think if the story is trying to say "yes all men" then it'd be more powerful if it didn't end the way it does.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:15 (one year ago) link

xpost to ll

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:15 (one year ago) link

LG otm there I think

imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:17 (one year ago) link

The whole thing lacks any ambiguity really though

imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:18 (one year ago) link

the narrator didn't really feel like a character, just an observer, a receptacle for the narrative. the story's sole purpose appears to be winding up/attacking mras, which is a noble enough cause, but the writing is kind of dull and the whole thing emanates a sort of calculatingly nihilistic dysphoria that brooks neither joy nor horror. nothing is left to chance. and in its obsessive recall of detail it comes off quite superficial

― imago, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:04 (fourteen minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Hmmm what else sounds like

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:20 (one year ago) link

#noteveryman was good tho it were right good

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Monday, 11 December 2017 14:20 (one year ago) link

the narrator literally announces she has told this story different ways before now, how much ambiguity do you want

mark s, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:22 (one year ago) link

(amking my way through the interview now)

re: the last line. Kristen says it was inspired "by a small but nasty encounter I had with a person I met online", later on in the same interview she expresses nervousness in trying to capture a younger person's texts. So maybe all of that explains the crude ending but I liked it -- from where it started to where we got to. All the witticisms and weeks of flirting turning so ugly, to this one word left like that. It didn't stop from the story from hitting a nerve.

Fills enough time before the next time Trump tweets his thing so enjoy it, says I.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:52 (one year ago) link

decent story, i also don't think the last line is in keeping with the rest but i don't mind an attempt to swing for the fences.

call all destroyer, Monday, 11 December 2017 14:58 (one year ago) link

if he's this angry full misogynist creep it has less impact.

he's not -- i think it's supposed to show that if they feel shitty enough, or are drunk enough, or feel rejected enough, even the guy who seems to have it all together could lash out and say something like that. it's not beyond the pale for a drunk lonely pissed off dude to lash out and say something he will likely regret but be unable to retract. in the past, people could just think it. maybe say it to their friends. now they both have to live with him having actually expressed it.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 11 December 2017 15:58 (one year ago) link

i guess i just don't believe that is the action of anyone but a particularly angry misogynist.

lashing out maybe, or getting angry - people get angry in dating. but calling someone a whore is like getting into territory where the word "violence" doesn't feel a misuse. to think otherwise i'd have to try to justify him calling her a whore.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 16:03 (one year ago) link

i don't think you have to justify it to understand that it's possible for a person who is performatively kind to find that his kindness is not rewarded as he thinks it should be, gets angry, lashes out drunkenly in a way that is disproportionate to the way he feels he was wronged. it did not feel ott to me, though it was an abrupt ending to the story.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 11 December 2017 16:12 (one year ago) link

I think the last line would feel over-the-top if it was in isolation but the string of messages before it makes it more credible, imo. Within the context of getting angry/lashing out there are still plenty of guys out there who have no trouble responding like that, doesn't need to be a MRA.

Also don't think this story is supposed to "wind up" anyone, feels like a very weird way to look at it imo.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 11 December 2017 16:17 (one year ago) link

only a really warped person imo. like it's p much a hate crime, what he does. anyway i guess we won't agree on this - i can't claim to have a full perspective on this story.

xpost

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 11 December 2017 16:22 (one year ago) link

also she basically initiated the relationship based on his apparent (performative) kindness -- that she eventually chose not to pursue further contact with him after their lackluster encounter is another choice she made, one he felt was uncharitable toward him, so he lashed out in anger. It seemed like a conceivable reaction of a man who felt the control had not just been wrestled away from him, but done so by a younger woman -- which is basically totally realistic. Whether or not your average "decent dude" would hurl that word around casually is not really the point. Although personally I don't think it's a stretch.

LG -- even if you believe that "only a warped person" would say/do this, it's a sign of how warped many people (men) are. More than you think!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 11 December 2017 16:26 (one year ago) link

seemed totally relatable to me and her perspective seemed valuable. i'm not that guy but i certainly know lots of that guys. it's really weird that people are so uptight about either being that guy or knowing that guy that they have to get all captain-save-a-cat-person on twitter but hey it's 2017 i guess.

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Monday, 11 December 2017 16:31 (one year ago) link

xpost That one seems to work. But I haven't read it.

it's not a bad conceit, but the execution is just atrocious

flappy bird, Sunday, 20 January 2019 23:41 (six months ago) link

Well at least the cover of the book is nice.

Yerac, Sunday, 20 January 2019 23:42 (six months ago) link

How does the magical realism/sex/horror element of her writing compare with someone like Alissa Nutting?

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 21 January 2019 00:15 (six months ago) link

I’d say that Nutting compares to Rou(penian)

flopson, Monday, 21 January 2019 00:25 (six months ago) link

Well at least the cover of the book is nice.

disagree on this too, looks like it was thrown together in five minutes with stock font & design imo

flappy bird, Monday, 21 January 2019 01:47 (six months ago) link

So much of the book screams rush job, which it obviously is. I know you gotta make hay while the sun shines but this really suffered for it.

flappy bird, Monday, 21 January 2019 01:47 (six months ago) link

Oh, I like the deepening angular shades of millennial pink forming a nipple, vulva, asshole. I expect it looks good from distance but I haven't seen it in person.

Yerac, Monday, 21 January 2019 02:11 (six months ago) link

Guys, there are other, better books you can read.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Tuesday, 29 January 2019 06:09 (six months ago) link

like Anna Kavan

flappy bird, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 06:37 (six months ago) link

Everything people say about this stuff I think is present in Mary Gaitskill's Bad Behaviour and that's about 30 years old.

FernandoHierro, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 07:22 (six months ago) link

It’s fiction for ppl who miss Girls

Mordy, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 15:20 (six months ago) link

god, did they stop making Girls?

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Tuesday, 29 January 2019 15:55 (six months ago) link

god, did they stop making Girls?

children of men (2006)

maxwell’s silver hang suite (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 29 January 2019 16:01 (six months ago) link

It’s fiction for ppl who miss Girls

it's nothing like girls

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 15:26 (six months ago) link

This is a pretty good rev of it: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n03/lauren-oyler/pressure-to-please

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 22:40 (six months ago) link

that review has quite detailed descriptions of the plots of a few of the stories just fyi

Number None, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 23:02 (six months ago) link

that writer, lauren oyler, is good. i've enjoyed her pieces for the baffler.

something about the existence of this cat person book is really depressing to me. i haven't even read it--just the two stories and the synopses of the other ones.

there is something super foucaultian about those two stories. the surface level of social interaction and romance--the moments when people are civil to each other--are in these stories just a facade, and right underneath is just power games/struggles. this is actually not far off from how MRAs see things. i can't live in a mental world where that's what life is though. i don't think it's true, even if there are grains of truth.

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 23:37 (six months ago) link

it's true for some people. sociopaths mostly.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 23:39 (six months ago) link

right. i think a lot of critical theory can lend one to conclusions that people are sociopaths though, if you take it one-dimensionally. like, a lot of that stuff reveals power relations, exploitation, etc, which are fundamental to how society is constructed--it's all true. but also there is like, more to life than just that.

maybe the "horror" element of these stories is that they dramatizing the lurking fear that maybe there isn't more to life than what critical theory describes.

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 23:47 (six months ago) link

oyler is straight up terrible

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Thursday, 31 January 2019 00:35 (six months ago) link

sorry lol i'm gonna have to qualify that aren't i, tbh i became aware of her through her terrible lady bird review and her "dan savage: not so problematic after all!!!" piece for the outline was high bullshit

if she's gotten good since then i'm probably not going to find out by reading a cat person review

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Thursday, 31 January 2019 00:41 (six months ago) link

I’m not familiar with those pieces. The things I read were about social media—I forget what she said but I remember I related to it.

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 00:42 (six months ago) link

seems fine that you like her! not sure why i have to register my dislike of someone's writing every time i see their name, working on it

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Thursday, 31 January 2019 00:44 (six months ago) link

i haven't read these stories except for the thread's titular one, but if they're based around dating and interpersonal relationships i have heard so-called "horror stories" from both men and women over the years, but generally speaking only women have told me stories from that realm that veer towards actual horror involving power games and false civility.

omar little, Thursday, 31 January 2019 00:47 (six months ago) link

loneliness of the middle distance dater

Yerac, Thursday, 31 January 2019 00:51 (six months ago) link

From cat person, the good guy, and the synopses of “the biter” and especially the thigh bone story, it seems her theme is narcissism. The characters relate to other people based on what they want from them—there is no real “connection” happening. Which, i mean, certainly that reflects a reality of human psychology.

But she also ties this to common cultural tropes, like about “nice guys” with the good guy or ambiguous consent like with the cat person, so the collection as a whole sort of appears to be addressing the zeitgeist and saying something about the way we now. Or if not that, then responding to the way people talk about the way we live now. And considered in that light this is a grim book indeed. Which isn’t in itself damning—I don’t need hope and redemption in all my books—but raw misanthropy, i’m not sure. That isn’t appealing.

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 00:56 (six months ago) link

What’s surprising is how many of these stories are about women abusing men. One story is apparently about a woman who conjures a man from a book of spells and then slowly drains his blood before killing him, but during it she thinks maybe she is in love with him. Is this just an allegory for domestic violence? Is it saying something about it or just reflecting it?

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 00:58 (six months ago) link

Like, apparently in the biter and the blood-draining one the main character reflects that they could get away with the violence they crave by saying it was self defense bc they are women and their victims are men. Doesn’t this sound like a feverish mra fantasy? Is it satire? I’m just not gettin it and I don’t want to have to read it to find out...

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 01:09 (six months ago) link

Sry for all the posts.

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 01:13 (six months ago) link

how is that a mra thing and not a couched fantasy about a woman getting away with what men do in a cliched manner: use women for labor and emotional support and throwing them away when they’re out of blood

mh, Thursday, 31 January 2019 01:44 (six months ago) link

like the entire mra ethos is that women should do quote-unquote traditional roles which involves domestic labor, emotional support, childbearing and raising kids

a woman straight-up draining blood from a dude is, having not read the story (caveat), violent but it is literally draining the life from someone in a way that’s understandable as violence — whereas exploitation might not be. that’s the rub, violence against a man is ironically a joke (women can’t hurt men with violence!) but sucking the lifeblood from a woman over years is accepted

mh, Thursday, 31 January 2019 01:49 (six months ago) link

like I want to read this story to make sure my take is in the right ballpark but reading “woman attacks man in weird way” as “domestic violence is ok if you’re a woman” is a weird blind take that ignores allegory

and, I mean, I had that ex that was seen in public hitting her new dude in the face in public so I’m not pulling takes out my ass

mh, Thursday, 31 January 2019 01:52 (six months ago) link

whoa, i wasn't saying that she was arguing that "domestic violence is ok if you're a woman"

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 01:53 (six months ago) link

i'm saying the character, in the story, thought she'd get away with it because she could accuse the guy of initiating the violence. it's a plot point.

this seems similar to like, the mra idea that women are the ones who "really do" have the upper hand. like, just superficially.

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 01:54 (six months ago) link

but yeah, maybe this is an allegory for how men treat women, and so by reversing it we're supposed to see how bad that is, or something

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 01:56 (six months ago) link

it’s still a facile point, mra fantasies tene to diminish the violent capabilities of women but elevate the idea of violence as a possibility

women are totally capable of violence but making it a weird sort of violence throws it out of the realm of probability

mh, Thursday, 31 January 2019 01:57 (six months ago) link

I reserve further comment until reading the actual story instead of doing the New Yorker/nyrb thing where we talk about stories based on what our monthly periodical says

mh, Thursday, 31 January 2019 01:58 (six months ago) link

i mean, i've read two of these stories and the other ones we got the synopsis from the review. i feel like i have some sense of the ideas she's working with i just don't know what she is saying.

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 02:00 (six months ago) link

also i think lying about male violence to evade culpability is a TOTAL mra fantasy so that's why it's interesting that it comes up twice in her stories, given the fact that they're super plugged into contemporary gender discourse. it's not the part about the women committing violence--it's the way they get away with it that seems to be a nod to this kind of "gone girl" idea.

but anyway, i'm not saying she is a misogynist, obviously, i just think these other stories are more difficult to interpret than cat person

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 02:06 (six months ago) link

she’s not every person and the fantasy of creating false male violence narratives does not invalidate real male violence in the public eye. there are a zillion harlequin/vampire fanfic things with spurious violence that blur things in more questionable ways, they’re just not reviewed in the literature journals

mh, Thursday, 31 January 2019 02:10 (six months ago) link

no but like ok

cat person and the good guy -- the two stores she put out to promote this book -- deliberately appeal to #metoo and other elements of contemporary gender discourse, like the idea of the "nice guy." that's how the book was marketed. so examining how she plays with different tropes about gender and to what end is something that book invites.

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 02:14 (six months ago) link

the fantasy of creating false male violence narratives does not invalidate real male violence in the public eye.

i never said it would do this and i'm not accusing the book of having a "bad impact." i'm trying to understand what, if anything, she is saying with these stories. i'm just on that level of analysis.

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 02:16 (six months ago) link

i mean, i've read two of these stories and the other ones we got the synopsis from the review. i feel like i have some sense of the ideas she's working with i just don't know what she is saying.

― Trϵϵship, Wednesday, January 30, 2019 9:00 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

cat person and the good guy -- the two stores she put out to promote this book -- deliberately appeal to #metoo and other elements of contemporary gender discourse, like the idea of the "nice guy." that's how the book was marketed. so examining how she plays with different tropes about gender and to what end is something that book invites.

― Trϵϵship, Wednesday, January 30, 2019 9:14 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

one would hope so, but as I said upthread, every other story in the book is horror/fantasy/magical realism. I think you're otm about her main theme being narcissism.

flappy bird, Thursday, 31 January 2019 06:31 (six months ago) link

that writer, lauren oyler, is good. i've enjoyed her pieces for the baffler.

There is a very good crew of female reviewers at the moment. I end up feeling the reviews they write are often richer than the books they review.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 31 January 2019 08:38 (six months ago) link

cat person and the good guy -- the two stores she put out to promote this book

the book did not exist in any form when "cat person" was published. she was signed off of it. a short story collection is rarely a single mission statement, but is frequently a number of short stories, collected.

sans lep (sic), Thursday, 31 January 2019 18:54 (six months ago) link

Jesus christ you’re tedious

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 18:56 (six months ago) link

She got the book deal on the strength of cat person. The book includes cat person. The story she released online as a promotional teaser was the good guy. The entire marketing around the book was related to how cat person struck a chord with readers and connected with metoo

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 18:57 (six months ago) link

Often there is some kind of thematic cohesiveness with story collections. Doesn’t have to be, true, but it seems odd to have a bunch of magical realist and horror stories, many related to sexuality, not connected to the ideas of the more popular two stories about sex, which were in a realist style and more zeitgeisty

Trϵϵship, Thursday, 31 January 2019 18:59 (six months ago) link

yeah it is odd, it's why the book sucks

flappy bird, Thursday, 31 January 2019 19:17 (six months ago) link


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