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.
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by Harper Collins,
“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who dont know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith
One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurstons classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.
by Harper Collins,
"Belongs in the category ... of enduring American literature." — Saturday Review
Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person — no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.
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