The folk flavor of her storytelling has earned her constant comparison to Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, but through four collections of short stories and two novels, J. California Cooper has proven that hers is a wholly original talent --one that embraces readers in an ever-widening circle from one book to the next. With In Search Of Satisfaction, Cooper gracefully portrays men and women, some good and others wickedly twisted, caught in their individual thickets of want and need. On a once-grand plantation in Yoville, "a legal town-ship founded by the very rich for their own personal use," a freed slave named Josephus fathers two daughters, Ruth and Yinyang, by two different women. His desire, to give Yinyang and himself money and opportunities, oozes through the family like an elixir, melding with the equally strong yearnings of Yoville's other residents, whose tastes don't complement their neighbors'. What Josephus buries in his life affects generations to come. J. California Cooper's unfettered view of sin, forgiveness, and redemption gives In Search Of Satisfaction a singular richness that belies its universal themes.
About the Author
J. California Cooper is the author of novels, six collections of stories, and seventeen plays. Her book "Homemade Love" was the winner of the American Book Award in 1989, and she has been honored as the Black Playwright of the Year. She has also received the James Baldwin Writing Award and the Literary Lion Award from the American Library Association. She lived in California until her death in 2014.
"Cooper's...style is deceptively simple and direct, and the vale of tears in which her characters reside is never so deep that a rich chuckle at a foolish person's foolishness cannot be heard."
"Cooper writes about small-town life with a verve that nearly bursts off the page."