Critics have compared her work to that of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, but J. California Cooper has a warm, witty style that’s definitely her own. Each of her short stories is a gem of downhome wisdom, polished with a bit of gossip, some heartbreak, and lots of humor.
Like the small towns J. California Cooper has so vividly portrayed in her previous novels and story collections, Wideland, Oklahoma, is home to ordinary Americans struggling to raise families, eke out a living, and fulfill their dreams. In the early 20th century, Irene and Val fall in love in Wideland. While carving out a home for themselves, they also allow neighbors Bertha and Joseph to build a house and live on their land.