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In this quirky, humorous, and deeply human short story collection, Pushcart Prize-nominated author R.L. Maizes reminds us that even in our most isolated moments, we are never truly alone.
In We Love Anderson Cooper, characters are treated as outsiders because of their sexual orientation, racial or religious identity, or simply because they look different. A young man courts the publicity that comes from outing himself at his bar mitzvah. When a painter is shunned because of his appearance, he learns to ink tattoos that come to life. A paranoid Jewish actuary suspects his cat of cheating on him—with his Protestant girlfriend.
In this debut collection, humor complements pathos. Readers will recognize themselves in these stories and in these protagonists, whose backgrounds are vastly different from their own—we’ve all been outsiders at some point.
"Go ahead and add R.L. Maizes to any list of contemporary short story masters--We Love Anderson Cooper marks the debut of a major literary talent on a par with Lorrie Moore or George Saunders. With this heartfelt and witty collection, Maizes deserves a following equal to that of the real-life Anderson Cooper, the popular award-winning journalist and CNN news anchor."
"R.L. Maizes chronicles the comedy and absurdity of the human condition in her wry, whimsical debut, We Love Anderson Cooper. [...] Crafted without excess or stylistic extremity, Maizes’ stories have a refreshing forthrightness."
"The attention-grabbing title isn't the only winning thing about R.L. Maizes' debut collection. [...] Maizes' admirable achievement in these charmingly offbeat stories is to balance fascination with sympathy and gravitas with humor."
"Through her fantastic characters, all outsiders in some way, Maizes masterfully intertwines harsh realities with humor and a deep understanding of human nature."
“Maizes’s direct manner of storytelling and her imperfect yet unmistakably human characters are sure to win over readers.”
"Each succinct fictional nugget rolls inexorably along its own quirky trajectory, arrives at its own unexpected destination, and never overstays its welcome ... this is a book about the heart. Breaking news: Maizes' gently witty and vaguely weird collection is well worth reading."
–Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
"Told with humor and wisdom, these charming stories burst with possibility: At any moment, a character might risk all, or the world might tilt on its axis. Here is a wildly entertaining new voice, one to revel in."
–Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers
"I can’t remember the last time I read an entire book with a smile on my face. But from R.L. Maizes’s title, WE LOVE ANDERSON COOPER, until the last story here, I grinned. These stories are funny, yes. But they are also so big hearted and honest that I wanted to thrust them into everyone’s hands and make them read this book so we would all be grinning together as we recognized that these oddball characters are really exactly like us."
—Ann Hood, Author of The Knitting Circle and The Book That Matters Most
"A unique angle of vision—devastating and funny. In her stories, R.L. Maizes probes the fusion of alienation and yearning, the persistence of attachment to animals and to people."
—Ursula Hegi, Author of Stones from the River (Book #1 of the Burgdorf Cycle Series)
"I found myself dazzled, moved, and lost in admiration for these unforgettable stories, each one a gem. Where do I sign up for the R.L. Maizes school of brilliantly depicting off-kilter love and loss with unfailing wit and empathy?"
—Elinor Lipman, author of Good Riddance and On Turpentine Lane
"The title story in We Love Anderson Cooper will break your heart in all the best ways and it will also make you laugh; such is the blueprint for all that is ahead in this stunning collection. R.L. Maizes has such a gift for taking us where we’ve never been, yet reminding us of what we know about love, grief, a place of belonging."
—Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life
"The title story R.L. Maizes' new collection, We Love Anderson Cooper, is at once modern and timeless. A boy preparing for his Bar Mitzvah decides to come out, to finally let his parents and community know who he really is. But tangled in his need to be seen and accepted is the possibility that his coming out might go viral, that people might be inspired by his bravery, that he could end up on Ellen."