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Publisher's Summary

Beloved writer J. California Cooper has won a legion of loyal fans and much critical acclaim for her powerful storytelling gifts. In language both spare and direct yet wondrously lyrical, Life is Short but Wide is an irresistible story of family that proves no matter who you are or what you do, you are never too old to chase your dreams.

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. The next generation brings two girls for Irene and Val, and a daughter for Bertha and Joseph. As the families cope with the hardships that come with changing times and fortunes, and people are born and pass away, the characters learn the importance of living one's life boldly and squeezing out every possible moment of joy.

Cooper brilliantly captures the cadences of the South and draws a picture of American life at once down-to-earth and heartwarming in this-as her wise narrator will tell you-"strange, sad, kind'a beautiful, life story." It is a story about love that leads to the ultimate realization that whoever you are, and whatever you do, life is short, but it is also wide.

©2009 Doubleday (P)2009 Random House

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What listeners say about Life Is Short but Wide

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Never Disappointed!

J.California Cooper has never disappointed me and "Life Is Short and Wide" is no exception. This story touched me and spoke to life's twist a turns, as well as, the unexpected changes and how these changes affect the lives of those you love beyond the length of your life. Highly recommened.

9 people found this helpful

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A Whole Lotta Soul!

Would you listen to Life Is Short but Wide again? Why?

Yes. This was the second listen. I drove family members from Atlanta to Savannah (and back) and played it for them. They Loved it; they actually cheered out loud!

What other book might you compare Life Is Short but Wide to and why?

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Which character – as performed by Adenrele Ojo – was your favorite?

Tot was too much!

If you could rename Life Is Short but Wide, what would you call it?

Wouldn't change a thing

Any additional comments?

J. California Cooper is a treasure!

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great for a long car ride...

I've been a lover of J. California Cooper's work for over 20 years. Her short stories are wonderfully entertaining. The ease with which they flow is a true testament to the author's storytelling abilities.

This novel seemed to be a long, drawn out version of her signature short-story style. For some characters, the author skipped years, even decades, without comprehensive explanation. Three-quarters of the way through, I was begging for the novel's end! I forced myself to keep listening out of respect for the author and literature in-general.

The narrator hit her stride about 30-60 minutes into the story. She was initially irritating, seemingly trying to force a "countrified" accent. But when she hit her stride, she nailed it; both her diction and tonal inflections became on point! The narration then flowed mellifluously!

Curiously, at the very end, the author introduced the ideology of Jehovah's Witnesses. It made the ending a bit disjointed.

I'd recommend listening to this novel if one is taking a long car ride.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Author that never disappoint

I love reading or listening to book written by J. California Cooper. The author is one of my favorites. I am never disappointed when I read a book written by this author. The author really digs deep and develope a great novel.

3 people found this helpful

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Okay, but I wasn't looking for a religion

I enjoyed the story all the way up until it started feeling like a plug for Jehovah's witnesses (towards the end).

2 people found this helpful

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short but wide

nice story, started off kind of sad but, at the end it produced a good ending. Let's you hang on to the idea of LOVE no matter how old.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

I was disappointed

I was so excited when one of J. California Cooper's book appeared on Audible. I couldn't wait to listen to what I thought would be another great deeply moving piece. I was sadly disappointed.
First, it was entirely too long and drawn out. By the time the two main characters got together, I was exhausted.
Secondly, the story was trying to portray a family in a place over a long period of time. The author used dialogue to do much of this, that seemed contrived.
Lastly, the ending was like reading a page torn out of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
I would not recommend this one.

1 person found this helpful

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Love her writing style.

One of my all time favorite authors. I've always enjoyed J California Cooper books... I think or thought I'd read them all until this one. Now i have to check and make sure there's not another I've missed some how. lol
Good story as always.

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Worst Narration I've ever suffered through.

Loved reading the book, but this narration made listening difficult and uncomfortable. Just awful.

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My Favorite Author

She never disappoints! The best storyteller. Descriptive and vivid...at times you forget you aren't watching a movie!

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  • life
  • 04-29-20

Enjoyable listen and story

Overall a good story, but the ending was peculiar, unsure why the reference to god