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Pressure to Please

Lauren Oyler: Is Sex Interesting?, 7 February 2019

You Know You Want This 
by Kristen Roupenian.
Cape, 226 pp., £12.99, February 2019, 978 1 78733 110 5
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... for writing about sex, and as a marketing tool for writing about sex, particularly post #MeToo. Kristen Roupenian’s debut short story collection, You Know You Want This, attempts to jump on this bandwagon and at the same time tip it over. She ends up driving it in a circle. A deliberate mixture of body horror, psychological realism and fantasy, the ...

Would I have heard of you?

Lauren Oyler: ‘The Female Persuasion’, 21 June 2018

The Female Persuasion 
by Meg Wolitzer.
Chatto, 464 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 78474 236 2
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... its reception reminded me of the way last year’s New Yorker short story ‘Cat Person’ by Kristen Roupenian went viral. The frenzy surrounding the publication of that story involved the pleasant surprise that a work of literature (that happened to be written by a woman) had made such a splash on the attention-deficit internet. But in fact it was ...

Ha ha! Ha ha!

Lauren Oyler: Jia Tolentino, 23 January 2020

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion 
by Jia Tolentino.
Fourth Estate, 303 pp., £14.99, August 2019, 978 0 00 829492 2
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... of the confusion she says she feels. (Several authors, including Sally Rooney, Garth Greenwell and Kristen Roupenian, have used BDSM to dramatise such shifting power relations in recent fiction.) In many understandings of BDSM, if all goes well, the sub has some power. After dictating their safe words and limits, they just have to do what they’re ...

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