Mike Cordle, January 5, 2010 (view all comments by Mike Cordle)
With enrapturing lyricism Their Eyes Were Watching God captures the heart of the human experience. Hurston's use of dialect is so rich and authentic the reader almost feels as if the words lift themselves right off the page, becoming audible and full of life. Whether Hurston is writing about sex, God, hate or love, I found each presentation, indeed, each word, was filled with a sacredness on par with some of the Bible, or the Koran.
Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the finest examples of why the written word will never perish and why I will read books until the day I die.
Felicity, July 9, 2009 (view all comments by Felicity)
I found this a quick read, once I'd had a few pages to soak into the dialect. I enjoyed the frame, which placed the narrative firmly in a storytelling tradition, and gave enough clues about Janie's eventful life that the reader could quickly realize it was the life, not the events themselves, that mattered.
The dialogue throughout the book is spritely, marked by inventive habits of wordplay, and the narrative itself is often beautiful, evocative, and skeweringly apt. I love the recurring images that pervade it, like bright threads glinting throughout the fabric.
It's short, and much of its character work is expertly begun early and tied off neatly at the end, although there are some episodes that I still found enigmatic. It raises knotty issues of colorism, beauty, self-esteem and self-definition, and succeeds as a bildungsroman all these years and bildungsromans later.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (3 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and eBooks — here at Powells.com.