Tuesday, August 3

Why is ‘Cat Person’ going viral again? | Media

Helen, I’m seeing that horrible close-up image of mouths kissing on my timeline again and I hesitate to ask, but why?

The Short story cat person is in the news once again, because a woman named Alexis Nowicki has written a blackboard essay in which she explains that she is the real-life cat person that the Cat Person story is based on, and that her ex-boyfriend is the other cat person in the story, and that she was actually a lovely person in the story. real life and really did. he had cats and he wasn’t pretending, unlike the story.


In December 2017, a short story in the New Yorker called Cat Person went completely crazy online, becoming perhaps the first piece of short fiction to do so. In it, the hitherto unknown writer, Kristen Roupenian, tells the story of a young woman’s relationship with an older man.

They exchange jokes about cats. She goes home and he says, “Just so you know, I have cats.” They have sex. Later, he suspects that he may not actually have cats. Finally, she cheats on him and he sends her a text message that says “Whore”.

And IRL?

In Slate’s story, Nowicki says that when the piece came out, she was watching Call Me By Your Name “for the second time, alone.” She leaves the theater and sees her phone explode. A story has appeared in the New Yorker and her friends are texting asking if she wrote it under a pseudonym, if it is about her, or if the man, whom Nowicki calls “Charles” in the essay, wrote it himself. .

Was she also grossed out by the image?

She was. In those exact words. And there are many details in the story that match her real life at the time she dated Charles.

The protagonist is from the same small town, he goes to the same university, he works in the same art theater. The man in the story is, like Charles in real life, a man in his 30s who is “tall, a little fat, with a tattoo on his shoulder” and wears a “rabbit fur hat and vintage coat.” . The decoration and content of your house are the same.

But in Nowicki’s experience, the sex was different and he didn’t send her bad text messages. In fact, he emphasizes “how respectful and loving he could be” before he died suddenly in November of last year.

There is more, but you may want to read the essay yourself (it’s sad and thoughtful).

But was it definitely her? And how?!

Finally, Nowicki contacted Roupenian to find out. Roupenian told her that after having “an encounter” with the real-life Charles, she noticed that he had once dated a much younger woman, Nowicki, and searched Nowicki’s social media for details she used in the story. .

“I later learned from social media that this man previously had a much younger girlfriend,” Roupenian writes in an email. “I also learned some facts about her.”

Anything else I need to know before deleting all the social media accounts I have?

Two things. First, people are debating whether it is okay for authors to use the details of strangers’ lives in their fiction.

Second, they ask a question that literary scholars have been discussing for centuries.


Are all cats female and all dogs male?


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