Recently, a short story caused a stir. In an age of texts, tweets and technology, that really is quite something.
Cat Person by Kristen Roupenian appeared in the New Yorker in December and set social media alight. Sinéad Gleeson joined Kay Sheehy on Arena to talk about the reaction and to look back at other stories that shocked in their time.
So what’s it all about? Sinéad describes it as "a love story gone wrong".
"It tells the story of a woman called Margot. She’s a college student. She’s 20. She works in a cinema part time and there she encounters a slightly older man in his 30s called Robert who eventually asks for her phone number… They get to know each other online… He asks her to go out on a date with him which she agrees to do so it’s basically telling the story of a burgeoning relationship and a first date."
After a promising digital beginning, the face-to-face meeting leaves Margot deflated, but she decides not to let this stop her taking, shall we say, the next step. What unfolds is the coming-undone of hopes and expectations based on an online persona and two very different interpretations of an evening.
The story provoked an outpour of responses from people who related to the now all-too-familiar situation of the real thing not living up to the online promises.
"There was a Twitter account of cats responding to Cat Person! It really shook everybody’s imagination… A lot of people thought it was real. They didn’t see it as a piece of fiction and that’s why I think it got a lot of people talking and anything that makes a short story go viral and gets people interested in fiction, it can only be a good thing."
Sinead also spoke about short stories The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and Guts by Chuck Palahniuk.