Life Is Short But Wide
By J. California Cooper
(Anchor, Paperback, 9781400075690, 336pp.)
Publication Date: April 6, 2010
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Like the small towns J. California Cooper has so vividly portrayed in her previous novels, Wideland, Oklahoma, is home to ordinary Americans with big hearts. Among them are newlyweds Irene and Val, who graciously allow their neighbors, Bertha and Joseph, to build a house on their land. Together the couples have three daughters, all who struggle to find love and success in the changing world. But although the years may bring hardship and heartache, they also teach the importance of living one’s life boldly and squeezing out every possible moment of joy.
An irresistible story of faith and family, Life Is Short But Wide proves that no matter who you are or what you do, you are never too old to chase your dreams.
J. California Cooper is the author of four novels, including, most recently, Some People, Some Other Place, and six collections of stories. She was honored as Black Playwright of the Year, and has received the American Book Award, the James Baldwin Writing Award, and the Literary Lion Award from the American Library Association. She lives in California.
“What a voice . . . Cooper celebrates family, freedom, perseverance, life, and . . . powerful voices finally heard.” —Atlanta Constitution
“Cooper’s work reminds us of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston…. It’s a delight to read.” —Alice Walker
“[J. California Cooper] is my favorite storyteller. What songs she sings.” —Nikki Giovanni
“Yes, life is short. Luckily, its also filled with the magic of beguiling and provocative books like this.” —The Newark Star-Ledger
“J. California Cooper is absolutely brilliant. One of the best writers of all time.” —Jill Scott
“My fifth-grade teacher . . . one day said, ‘Instead of calling and asking me for advice, try reading J. California Cooper.’” —Halle Berry
“Wonderfully crafted. . . . Cooper’s characteristic motherly wit carries an appealing raft of characters through a world tougher than it is tender, but touched with beauty and wisdom.” —Publishers Weekly
“It is as if [Cooper] is patting the seat next to us, enticing us to come sit and listen.” —Ms.
“A genius storyteller.” —The Boston Globe
“Cooper’s characters are the folk heroes of black culture.” —Essence
“Reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston’s groundbreaking 1937 novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. . . . Narrated with gentle wit and humor, [Life Is Short But Wide] explores the importance of love, religion, redemption, and family.” —Library Journal
“Cooper writes about love as if it were a small stream, a ray of hope, a whisper in God’s ear, an essence all of its own. . . . A must read full of history, wisdom and love.” —Cityflight