Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Paperback - 2006
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A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

"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 : HarperPerennial Modern Classics, 2006.
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial Modern Classics ed.
ISBN: 9780060838676
Characteristics: xviii, 219, 16 p. ; 21 cm.


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The Pleasure of My Company: Zora Neale Hurston at 125

How much do you know about Zora Neale Hurston? It seems like most people read Their Eyes Were Watching God in high school English class or saw Their Eyes Were Watching God with Halle Berry. But there's more to this fabulous writer than one novel. To celebrate the 125th anniversary of her birth on January 7, let's take a look at some of the more colorful aspects of her life and her work. Hur… (more)

The Pleasure of My Company: Zora Neale Hurston’s 125th Birth Anniversary

How much do you know about Zora Neale Hurston? It seems like most people read Their Eyes Were Watching God in high school English class, or saw Their Eyes Were Watching God with Halle Berry. There's more to this fabulous writer than one novel. To celebrate the 125th anniversary of her birth on January 7th, let's take a look at some of the more colorful aspects of her life and her work. Hurst… (more)

From the critics

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LPL_ShirleyB Sep 26, 2019

I'm gratefully savoring this classic! Poetic prose in Southern dialect from a colorful community of characters that I can visualize and feel.


Dec 26, 2018

I felt compelled to read Their Eyes Were Watching God after reading Glory Edim's, Well-Read Black Girl anthology. I can relate to the main character, Janie on a spiritual level, specifically her quest to live life on her own terms. In her case, she did this during an era in American society when it was very unpopular for a woman to exercise any form of independence or autonomy. Nonetheless, I'm so glad that I finally read this classic novel! I believe that novels represent a piece of their authors, so I'd like to imagine that Janie is a reflection of her creator, Zora Neale Hurston; and if she is, then Zora would've definitely been a friend of mine.

Dec 13, 2018

A story that was almost lost to time. This novel about first love and becoming true to ones self - is the subject of many scholarly discussions. It is on the reading list of many High School Curriculum, and is a wonderful love story to come out of the Harlem Renaissance. One of the most unique aspects of this book - is the dialect in which it is written. The southern cadence, with which the main character Janie, narrates the whole novel in is beautiful and rhythmic.

I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone younger than 16-17 though. Simply because in it are themes - that normally one wouldn't understand until older - or that you might just need a little more experience to read. If you find yourself reading this book - and don't get all the hype - I would definitely suggest giving it another chance in a year or two. It might change your perspective - I know that's what happened with me - a year ago I would have given this book a frustrated 2 stars and an angry comment.

Oct 07, 2018

I love this book. She has a turn of phrase that is lyrical and frequently poetic, and a strong singular voice in her writing. The only thing that spoiled it a little for me, was the constant thought that if anyone had written the book this way in today's times, the thought police would have come to get them.

Sep 19, 2018

This is a lovely story. A woman grows to believe in herself, her life, her love.
Hurston tells this story in dialect. It slowed my reading down; thus making me really read the words, immerse in the story. It's diabolically clever of her.
Janie's story is one I'll remember. She's a wonderful, warm, loving character.
A terrific read.

Sep 17, 2018

Just added to my favourites of all time list!

Aug 14, 2018

Loved, loved, loved this book. Read it years ago and love it even more now. I was captivated by the idiomatic black voice which lent surprising imagery to the dialogue even though it slowed me down, because I wanted to really hear it in my head. Such a noble story of a woman discovering the indomitability of her spirit despite being mired in the lower echelons of society. Hurston has it all here – themes of love, race, power, gender, spirituality – eloquent and unhurried as she brings the protagonist into self-realization.

RogerDeBlanck Jul 24, 2018

Hurston's achingly beautiful novel captures one woman's journey for self-discovery. Janie Crawford leads a life of hardship and struggle until she finds happiness and the realization of what living means with Teo Cake. The romance they share is incredibly genuine and pure. Although sadness befalls the temple of love they build for each other, the story exalts the sacrament of loving someone forever. This book covers all of life's value lessons: finding one's self; learning to love, trust, endure, and believe; dealing with adversity, grief, and loss; and struggling to survive and move on. Hurston is a gifted writer, and she creates a vernacular dialogue as rich and mesmerizing as Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. She has captured the culture and dialect of the African American experience in the South, and it is easy to see the influence of Hurston’s work on such accomplished writers as Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. Their Eyes Were Watching God is an unforgettable novel by an artist at the height of her abilities. It is truly an amazing reading experience.

Jun 06, 2018

There Eyes Are Watching God, by Zora Neal Hurston a historical master work!
It been years since reading it but the story lingers in my mind. A romance coming of age
story of a young girl who becomes a woman through the post Reconstructionist segregated
South in the Black Experience. As a young girl, the main character is charmed by a well dress, worldly traveler, with huge ambition and a plan for success, with whom she runs away and later marries.
Life is grand as good fortune and security take hold in their sleepy small town, as they become the statues quo of middle classes values. But like all great stories a series of tragic events interrupt their upwardly mobile life styles, For example a horse dies in the middle of the street and lingers decomposing a sign of things to come. Secondly, she is still young and very attractive, and he seems much older, preoccupied with work and physically less appealing as time passes quickly. Then throw a mysterious younger man in the mix, who is talented and has all the small town girls swooning and you've got bad mixture. The handsome younger man begins hanging around the couple's store and does adds a certain amount of excitement to both their lives, but drama and tension begin to mount.

"Their Eyes Are Watching God"does have some action adventure and strange twists with the two young people becoming lovers, venturing off, and living in the woods eventually becoming loggers in a great forest. You will have to see what happens next, but its enough to create a special effects movie version starring Hailey Berry and Terrence Howard, produced by Oprah Winfrey! One of the truly great novels features a female protagonist and narrative insights by her. A must read...

Ghettostone Publications Group Highly Recommends This One!
Leader of the Best Sellers Book Club was unanimously in favor of this title as a must read!
For all the book lovers enjoy this summer classic...

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britprincess1ajax 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 26, 2018

Two things everybody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves.

britprincess1ajax 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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