by J. California Cooper
Whether through her stories or her legendary readings, J. California Cooper has an uncanny ability to reach out to readers like an old and dear friend. Her characters are plain-spoken and direct: simple people for whom life, despite its ever-present struggles, is always worth the journey.
In Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime, Cooper's characteristic themes of romance, heartbreak, struggle and faith resonate. We meet Darlin, a self-proclaimed femme fatale who uses her wiles to try to find a husband; MLee, whose life seems to be coming to an end at the age of forty until she decides to set out and see if she can make a new life for herself; Kissy and Buddy, both trying and failing to find them until they finally meet each other; and Aberdeen, whose daughter Uniqua shows her how to educate herself and move up in the world.
These characters and others offer inspiration, laughter, instruction and pure enjoyment in what is one of J. California Cooper's finest story collections.
Employing her characteristic themes of romance, heartbreak, struggle, and faith, this collection by the award-winning author of Homemade Love offers inspiration, laughter, instruction, and pure enjoyment. "(Cooper's) power comes from sticking to her instinct, which is to tell a story, plain and simple."--The Washington Post.
The heroines in Cooper's latest collection of lively, charming stories (after The Matter is Life) reaffirm the centrality of romantic, committed relationships in the lives of many African American women. Cooper, whose 1989 collection, Homemade Love won the American Book Award, offers an array of fairy tales in which downtrodden Cinderella types eventually win their Prince Charmings. Though these women possess a certain innocence, both of happiness and of passion, they fall outside the conventional ingenue mold, often being middle-aged or older. The 10 stories here generally chronicle their characters' efforts to resurrect their lives after suffering harsh losses. Although the quest for a suitable husband dominates, these women also seek control over their destinies. They change their names, start pampering themselves in small ways and, through hard labor, achieve financial independence. The stories unfold in various American cities during the present day, but exact settings are left vague. Cooper's spirited use of the first person makes every tale engaging, even if the uniformity of voice makes the narrators largely indistinguishable. With thematic concerns tending to take precedence over technique, the author unabashedly indulges our romantic sensibilities. In these tales, a good man may be hard to find-but he is definitely worth both the search and the wait. Author tour. (Oct.)
Paperback: 288 pages