Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God

A Novel

Book - 1990
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"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 don't 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--Hurston's classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Publisher: New York : Perennial Library, 1990.
Edition: 1st Perennial Library ed.
ISBN: 9780060199494
Branch Call Number: F Hurs
Characteristics: xiv, 207 p. ; 21 cm.


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Dec 24, 2017

Big issues seen through the littlest of eyes, Janie tells you a tale that will whip you around until you feel dizzy. THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is not one of my favourites, but I can see why it is a very important book. It provokes emotions, without question, and those emotions are often tied to big ideas, thinking beyond her story while staying planted firmly within the intricacies of the relationships in Janie's life. While she recounts the steps she's made through life, Janie is also tackling the grand scale. It is a feminist text, but not in the overt way that makes some people cringe (cough, chauvinist misogynists, cough). Her courage and the strength of her decisions are important in a time that cannot fathom why she dare have the conviction to take action when she's just so darn pretty. But, to Janie, it's not what's on her face but in her head that matters. She deals with what life hands her and there is a spiritual element that courses through her, egging her on to be who she wants to be. While some parts of the book dragged, others chugged along mighty strong. And while I didn't particularly like what I felt was a rushed resolution in order to conclude the novel, I can understand that it may have been a stylistic choice reflecting the ebb and flow of life itself. As we all well know, sometimes a week can feel like years and then a year can feel like days. Sometimes, we are waiting for the second hand to tick over; other times, we are begging for another hour in the day. I can understand why this is the favourite novel of one of my friends. It may not be mine, but I don't, for a second, regret reading it. For anyone with the patience to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, I recommend THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD.

mko123 Oct 11, 2017

A love story about a woman who dares to be unabashedly herself. Against all odds, she remains a strong feminist way before her time yet is able to put her own life on the line for love. She is not swayed by her first rich husband who "big-bellies 'round and worships the things of his hands." She settles for nothing less then what her heart demands. Glorious storytelling in a folklore-laden culture of the deep south. MKO

Jan 07, 2017

A book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes were Watching God was published in 1937. Written in the African American dialect of the deep south it recounts the spiritual journey of Janie Mae Crawford, the granddaughter of a former slave, to find a place for herself in the world. Louise Gates Jr. writes that the book is about "the project of finding a voice, with language as an instrument of injury and salvation, of selfhood and empowerment.” It is a strongly feminist voice.

Aug 31, 2016

I know I am supposed to like this book, but I did not. It was boring and depressing.

Aug 29, 2016

This was hard for me to read at first, but once it got to the good part, I couldn't stop. This story blew me away.

Jul 14, 2016

Pretty amazing book, but hard to read sometimes. I found I got used to it when I would read for a longer period of time. It's very interesting, about something I have never really read about before - the black community in the early 30s in first Eatonville, then the Everglades in Florida. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in some U.S. history and looking for a strong female lead.

Jun 24, 2016

i really liked this book, but at times it was difficult to understand.

May 02, 2016

A wonderful, powerful story. It is one of only a few books that I've ever read and wanted to read again right away. The foreword and afterword provide important background and context, especially if you don't know about Hurston.

Mar 14, 2016

Tore through this book! I just couldn't put it down!

Aug 03, 2015

How to rate this book? On the basis of the writing quality alone, it should rate five stars. Just read the first page and you will be swept away by Hurston's magnificent prose:
"The sun was gone but he had left his footprints in the sky. It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment."
Beyond this, Hurston is able to write with two entirely different voices and glide seamlessly from one to the other, even within a single phrase. A supremely gifted writer, sure of her subject.
But it's with her other voice that I encountered some difficulty; not that her use of the vernacular of the black, deep south characters was less than authentic. Rather that at times she became too enraptured with their banality and nonsense, their tendency to attack and belittle to bolster their own self-esteem. The tiresome, trivial episode of Matt Bonner's yellow mule is a case in point; it just goes on and on for the better part of a chapter. I'm reminded of a comment that someone made about Mark Twain, that he became so much in love with his character, Tom Sawyer that he allowed his character to get away with far too much. Self-discipline is a necessary part of the creative process. I felt that permitting her characters to misbehave as she did was a form of self-indulgence on Hurston's part. I applaud her authenticity and yet I felt that she could have made her point equally well in far fewer words. Hence, four stars rather than five. Perhaps I'm showing some prejudice -- or just being picky.

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Dec 24, 2017

britprincess1ajax thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jun 21, 2014

ianwilliams_0 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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Dec 24, 2017

"Love is lak de sea. It's uh movin' thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it's different with every shore."


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