I’m slowly but surely working my way through J. California Cooper’s work and enjoying each one. I’m marveled at her mastery to tell a story. Anyone out there who is attempting to write short stories should absolutely read her. All the ingredients in her stories are carefully chosen and used to depict well-rounded characters placed in common life situations. All of her stories have a moral. She isn’t preachy but she definitely tries to favor the positive side of life, even in the most burdensome situations.
A Piece of Mine is only 124 pages and can be read in one sitting. It contains twelve short stories, each as interesting from one to the other. They all revolve around the central theme from the catchy title, A Piece of Mine. Cooper was very good at giving her short story collections titles. All the titles are memorable puns chosen to accompany her perfect stories. Cooper’s simple yet direct writing style shines through these relevant stories. “Her stories, parables, and monologues take flight with truths about being alive, rhythm of folks at ease by the creek and the pool table, songs of love and remorse, syncopated, galloping, and beguilingly, genuine.” Ntosake Shange (back cover of Anchor Books edition) “Ms. Cooper is as down-home as Zora Neale Hurston, thank you, and blooming into as skilled a storyteller. Cooper’s characters are the folk heroes of Black culture…Tales of triumph that give you reason to keep reading.” Essence (back cover of Anchor Books edition)
11 Replies to “A Piece of Mine”
I just searched your site and I didn’t see “In Search of Satisfaction.” Have you read that one yet? It was my first book by Cooper and like you, I’m about to begin making my way through her work.
You are on it with the short story reviews and I’m loving it!
Hey Shannon No I haven’t read that one yet. The two I have left on my shelf are Some Love, some Pain, Sometime and Life is short but Wide. Have no fear I will be working my way through all of her books. She’s the business for me right now. Yes I’m really starting to love short stories more and more. I wonder if it’s because I seem to have more aptitude for writing them than a novel? I discovered this during my online writing course. I’ve also been very lucky to have chosen only the best in short stories. 😀 Thanks for commenting! We need to chat soon. When are you free. Let me know. 😉
Sounds like a powerful little collection, thanks for sharing Didi!
Yes it is! How are you Claire?
Good thanks Dee, sweltering in the heat, but taking it easy over summer. And you?
Working a lot at the moment but things seem to be slowing down. Getting ready to set my daughter up in Paris. Shell be studying sewing and fashion at ECSCP starting in September. I’ll be in holiday the month of August.
I think I’m guilty of owning two copies of In Search of Satisfaction (both were gifts) and they are packed in a box! Still, I haven’t read any J. California Cooper in a long time so maybe I will before the year is out. Wishing you well and congrats to you and your daughter on her new life chapter.
Thanks Leslie! Definitely get to Ms.Cooper! She was such a wonderful storyteller and I homeport people start to recognize that. Hope your summer is going well and we must do a chat at some point. When are you free?
I’m really excited to read some J. California Cooper soon, thanks to all the rave on her on the blogosphere. Thanks for the recommendation on Goodreads! This is now on my tbr. I have Cooper’s book ‘Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime: Stories’ which is also a short stories collection. I hope to get into it early 2016!
I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading it. I have the same and hope to get to it before the end of the year. She was such a wonderful writer. Enjoy! Thanks for supporting! 😀
[…] back into them. I read Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, Blackberries, Blackberries, A Piece of Mine, and Water Street. All four collections had me captivated and made me want to explore other […]
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