by J. California Cooper
A fourth collection of stories by the award-winning author.
American Book Award-winner J. California Cooper spins insight and irony into modern-day parables about simple people who love too little and too late, and about those who toil and struggle against a difficult and often hostile environment. This fourth collection of Cooper's unforgettable stories is alternately charming, disturbing, poignant, and humorous.
Cooper's exuberant talent, displayed so effectively in Family , is somewhat muted in this uneven collection of eight deceptively simple slice-of-life parables. In ``Vanity,'' a friend tells of the downfall of an egocentric beauty, whose passage from darling to victim is inadequately explained. Although Nona--the self-centered, superficial narrator of ``Friends Anyone?''--has a Ph.D. in psychology, she never understands why she is rejected by family and friends, even by Jana, the childhood pal who ends up raising the twins--one deaf, one blind--Nona conceived with Jana's fiance. In ``The Doras,'' the daughters of a poor black woman pursue her dreams and theirs, struggling along the way with poverty, prostitution and all kinds of abuse. Although the questions raised by these tales are important, the answers given are often trite. Sometimes overripe with symbolism, Cooper's trademark African-American dialect here makes it difficult to distinguish narrative voices. (July)
Paperback: 240 pages