From the beloved author of Family and A Piece of Mine comes a dazzling new collection of stories featuring ordinary women who discover that love sometimes comes when you least expect it.
Vinnie is an overworked and self-sacrificing single mother who gets a second chance at love and independence, in "The Eagle Flies." In "A Shooting Star" a happily married mother of two laments the fate of her beautiful friend Lorene, whose naivete about desire has deadly consequences. In "A Filet of Soul," Luella's luck soon changes when her mother leaves her a modest inheritance, but not as soon as she initially imagines. And in "The Lost and Found," Irene confronts her womanizing boyfriend with the one piece of information that will bring him to his knees. Bursting with earthy wisdom and humor, these warmly engaging tales are a testament to Cooper's gifts as a storyteller.
African-American women struggling to make something of their smalltown lives inspire novelist and short story writer Cooper's (Homemade Love; A Piece of Mine) sixth collection of four down-home tales, told with wisdom and gentle humor. Navigating poverty, unwanted pregnancy, single motherhood and inexperience, all Cooper's heroines triumph, to lesser and greater degrees, finding "real love" despite being surrounded by "no good men." "Filet of Soul," a novella-length story, features Sedalia, a poor girl who can't afford to go to her high school prom. Enchanted when her crush leaves the party to dance with her on the school lawn, she responds to his overtures. The result is Sedalia's first and last sexual encounter, which leaves her pregnant and twice as poor as before. To protect her daughter from making the same mistake, Sedalia raises Luella to think she's unlovable and ugly. Not surprisingly, her efforts backfire. In "The Eagle Flies," single mother Vinnie works herself to the bone to care for her two ungrateful children, then enjoys the courtship of a man who encourages her to look out for herself; in "A Shooting Star," sensible Maisha meditates on the fate of her promiscuous friend, Lorene. Old-fashioned simplicity, common sense and colorful language make the potentially preachy aspects of these stories quaintly charming. Cooper occasionally forgets her vernacular and slips into more scholarly speech: one minute the narrators are saying "Humph, honey!" and calling each other "Sister-woman" and in the next they reference Dali and take "umbrage." Still, long comfortably established in the affections of her readersDand critically well regarded, tooDCooper continues to serve up stories as satisfying and heartwarming as homemade apple pie, and which should prove, with careful handling, just as popular. Author tour.
The Future Has a Past
I have read the entire collection of works by this author. Each book by J. California Cooper is so relevant to life and for me, telling of the African-American experience in this country. This book, The Future Has a Past, is so timely for this generation of young adults whose lives are touched so radically by social media. The lessons and outcomes from the stories the author tells can be meaningful to readers who allow those messages to influence their lives and their decisions in this life.
Hopefully, Ms Cooper will continue to write more books like this one. Her experience from her beginning writing in Paris, Texas and now in California, is truly insightful and I can honestly say has caused me to pause in my decision making over the past fifteen years of my life.
Buffalo, New York