In Search of Satisfaction
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.