‘Cat Person’ by Kirsten Roupenian

Another story with gasp-out-loud impact. I was tempted to select Mary Gaitskill’s ‘An Affair, Edited’ or indeed any one of Gaitskill’s stories in Bad Behaviour, which are all brilliant but I chose to include ‘Cat Person’because it is such an important story in terms of its timing and its cultural impact. The reason the story went viral was because so many women recognised the equation of male-female relations it works out. The last word of the story says everything – with one word Roupenian sums up not just the narrative action but the entire sexual political conundrum.

First published in The New Yorker in December 2017 and available online here. Collected in You Know You Want This (Jonathan Cape 2019