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A cat person’s nine lives

THIS JUST IN: “You Know You Want This” just went to S&S’s imprint, Scout Press, for more than one million dollars, plus an additional novel in the deal.

I’m guessing Kristen Roupenian thought she’d scored when her short story, “Cat Person,” was recently published in The New Yorker. But her own story has just begun; according to The Guardian, Roupenian’s book, “You Know You Want This,” has just been sold to the highest bidder – in this case Random House imprint Jonathan Cape – for “a five-figure sum.” An American deal is reportedly in the works, rumored to top one million dollars. Can “Cat Person: The Movie” therefore be far behind?

“Cat Person” (not to be confused with “Cat People”) is about Margot, a college student who goes on a date with 34-year-old Robert. (Thirty-four might be the cutoff age before a man goes from intriguing and mature to old and creepy. At least from the point of view of a college-aged woman.) But this Robert does indeed veer into creepy territory, after he begins harassing Margot with texts once she breaks off their one-date, bad-sex relationship.

On the heels of the #metoo movement, “Cat Person,” published in The New Yorker’s December 11th issue, could not have come at a better time. The story sparked fierce online debates about misogyny and the power men have over women; others wrote it off as nothing special. But any publicity is good publicity, and The New Yorker reports that the response to “Cat Person” has been “record breaking.” Michal Shavit, an editor at Cape, gushed, “[Roupenian is] the real deal … “Cat Person” doesn’t just play into the #metoo thing – she just writes very honestly and truthfully about the human experience.”

Shavit adds that in addition to writing about “the #metoo thing,” and relationships, Roupenian covers plenty of other territory in her book of short stories. “They’re dark, they’re funny, they’re irreverent, they’re treading boundaries, and they’re very different to one another … they’re not all about the relationships between men and women … I genuinely think she’s a brilliant writer.” We’ll see where Roupenian’s story takes her next. In the meantime, I’m wondering why I didn’t write “Dog Person.”