Real Man Stories
This is a charged, personal, and entirely original take on gender identity from an acclaimed American novelist. A few years ago the novelist T Cooper wrote his parents a letter, telling them he "wasn't their daughter anymore." And this was the "good news." "Real Man Stories" is Cooper's brash, wildly inventive, and often comic exploration of the paradoxes and pleasures of masculinity. In it he takes us through his transition into identifying as male, and how he went on to marry his wife and become an adoring stepfather of two children - the head of a perfectly nuclear American family. Cooper can be bemused or exasperated when he feels compelled to explain all this, but he never loses his sense of humor. "Ten Things People Assume I Understand About Women But Actually Don't," reads one chapter title, while another proffers: "Sometimes I Think the Whole of Modern History Can Be Explained by Testosterone." A brilliant collage of letters, essays, interviews (with his brother, with his wife, with the parents of other transgender children, with a man in possession of one of the largest penises in the country), and sharp evocations of difficult conversations with old friends and puzzled bureaucrats, "Real Man Stories" will forever change what you think about what it means to be a man.
T Cooper is the author of three novels, including The Beaufort Diaries and Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes. He is also editor of an anthology of original stories entitled A Fictional History of the United States with Huge Chunks Missing. T Cooper was born and raised in Los Angeles, attended Middlebury College in Vermont, and then taught high school in New Orleans before landing in New York City in 1996. He earned an MFA from Columbia University, and in addition to his novels, T's work has appeared in a variety of publications and anthologies, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Believer, One Story, and some others. His short story "Swimming" was one of "100 Distinguished Stories of 2007? in The Best American Short Stories 2008 (ed. Salman Rushdie). T has been awarded residencies to The MacDowell Colony, Ledig House International, and The Millay Colony (where he was The New York Times Foundation Fellow). He has taught at places like the Writers Institute of Miami Dade College and The Bronx Academy of Letters, and most recently he was a visiting faculty member at Middlebury College.