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1. Three Plays - Lawing and Jawing;
2. Their Eyes Were Watching God
3. Dust Tracks on a Road: An Autobiography
4. The Complete Stories (P.S.)
5. De Turkey and De Law - A Comedy
6. Mules and Men (P.S.)
7. Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro
8. I Love Myself When I Am Laughing...
9. Speak, So You Can Speak Again:
10. Zora Neale Hurston : Novels and
11. Their Eyes Were Watching God
12. The Cambridge Introduction to
13. Jonah's Gourd Vine: A Novel (P.S.)
14. Mules and Men: Negro Folktales
15. Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life
16. The Mule-Bone: A Comedy of Negro
17. Zora Neale Hurston : Folklore,
18. Tell My Horse
19. Seraph on the Suwanee
20. Moses, Man of the Mountain

1. Three Plays - Lawing and Jawing; Forty Yards; Woofing
by Zora Neale Hurston
Paperback: 24 Pages (2010-07-12)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003XVZKSK
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Three Plays - Lawing and Jawing; Forty Yards; Woofing is presented here in a high quality paperback edition. This popular classic work by Zora Neale Hurston is in the English language. If you enjoy the works of Zora Neale Hurston then we highly recommend this publication for your book collection. ... Read more

2. Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Paperback: 256 Pages (2006-06-01)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$7.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061120065
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston's beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. A true literary wonder, Hurston's masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published -- perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature.

Amazon.com Review
At the height of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1930s, Zora NealeHurston was the preeminent black woman writer in the United States. She wasa sometime-collaborator with LangstonHughes and a fierce rival of RichardWright. Her stories appeared in major magazines, she consulted onHollywood screenplays, and she penned four novels, an autobiography, countlessessays, and two books on black mythology. Yet by the late 1950s, Hurstonwas living in obscurity, working as a maid in a Florida hotel. She died in1960 in a Welfare home, was buried in an unmarked grave, and quicklyfaded from literary consciousness until 1975 when Alice Walkeralmost single-handedly revived interest in her work.

Of Hurston's fiction, Their Eyes Were Watching God is arguably thebest-known and perhaps the most controversial. The novel follows thefortunes of Janie Crawford, a woman living in the black town of Eaton,Florida. Hurston sets up her characters and her locale in the firstchapter, which, along with the last, acts as a framing device for the storyof Janie's life. Unlike Wright and Ralph Ellison,Hurston does not write explicitly about black people in the context of awhite world--a fact that earned her scathing criticism from the socialrealists--but she doesn't ignore the impact of black-white relationseither:

It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time tohear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyelessconveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins.But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful andhuman. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nationsthrough their mouths. They sat in judgment.
One person the citizens of Eaton are inclined to judge is Janie Crawford,who has married three men and been tried for the murder of one of them.Janie feels no compulsion to justify herself to the town, but shedoes explain herself to her friend, Phoeby, with the implicitunderstanding that Phoeby can "tell 'em what Ah say if you wants to. Dat'sjust de same as me 'cause mah tongue is in mah friend's mouf."

Hurston's use of dialect enraged other African American writers such asWright, who accused her of pandering to white readers by giving them theblack stereotypes they expected. Decades later, however, outrage has beenreplaced by admiration for her depictions of black life, and especially thelives of black women. In Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora NealeHurston breathes humanity into both her men and women, and allows them tospeak in their own voices. --Alix Wilber ... Read more

Customer Reviews (440)

4-0 out of 5 stars A satisfying read
Janie Crawford is a young black woman who wants to march to her own beat. When she grows old enough to start noticing men, her grandmother decides it is time for her to marry. Janie wants to marry for love but her grandmother insists she marry for security. She complies and marries older man Logan Killicks. At first Logan pampers her but soon starts treating her like a servant. Janie meets smartly dressed Jody Starks, a man who dreams big and runs away with him. They marry and settle in the town of Eatonville, an all black community. Jody finds the success he was seeking with a profitable store and by being elected the town Mayor. Jody and Janie spend 20 years in Eatonville but she does not find the love she seeks as Jody treats her like one more tool to further his political ambitions. Their marriage deteriorates and Jody falls ill and dies. Janie finally feels free. One day a penniless man named Tea Cake, ten years Janie's junior, wanders into town and Janie finally finds real love with him. They marry and decide to start life anew in the Florida Everglades. For the next two years, they experience a natural disaster and a few personal ones. A stronger woman due to all her experiences, Janie returns to Eatonville to live a peaceful existence.

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a simple story of a woman searching for love that is greatly enhanced by the authentic dialect of the time combined with the social tones of the era playing in the background. Hurston paints Janie vividly-as a woman who perseveres despite poverty and trying circumstances with all three of her husbands, but who always maintains her spirit and true self even if she has to bury it for awhile to survive. I was touched by the way in which the book was written- the writing was clean and simple yet poetic. For example, take this passage which discusses the hopes and dreams of men and women:

"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. ... For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly."

Gems like that (a refreshing break from the sometimes hard to get used to dialogue) made me want to stop reading and let it roll around in my head a little while before continuing on.

Hurston's contemporaries criticized this novel because it didn't focus enough on the social climate at the time. I think the book's greatest strength was letting the characters and the settings speak for themselves instead of focusing on the racial divide of the time. It would have been an entirely different book had the author went that route, and probably not nearly as good. There really was no plot other than the telling of Janie's life story but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I can see why it is considered a classic and deserving of the praise it finally received after years of being ignored.

5-0 out of 5 stars It was Perfect :D
The book came just in the promised time, and the overall quality was better than if I had bought it at the bookstore!
To anyone that needs this book, or is looking for a pleasuring read, I recommend it! ;)

2-0 out of 5 stars Note on physical quality of book.
I received this book but was not warned about the fact that it is a deckle edge edition. while some may find a deckle edge to be fancy, I myself find this so-called tasteful craftsmanship to be infuriating as it does not allow to flip through pages easy when using it for reference. In order to flip certain pages, you must pick at them with your thumb and forefinger; this gets tedious and old very very quickly. My version is the one with the red and beige puzzle cover. I'll post pics in a bit, make sure this is something you can deal with.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great condition
The book arrived on time and appears to be new, maybe used one. Great condition of the book cover.

1-0 out of 5 stars Review
Well, i had to read this book for english class, so i didn't really enjoy it at all, however it is a good book. ... Read more

3. Dust Tracks on a Road: An Autobiography (P.S.)
by Zora Neale Hurston
Paperback: 336 Pages (2010-11-01)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$11.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0062004832
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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First published in 1942 at the height of her popularity, Dust Tracks on a Road is Zora Neale Hurston’s candid, funny, bold, and poignant autobiography, an imaginative and exuberant account of her rise from childhood poverty in the rural South to a prominent place among the leading artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance. As compelling as her acclaimed fiction, Hurston’s very personal literary self-portrait offers a revealing, often audacious glimpse into the life—public and private—of an extraordinary artist, anthropologist, chronicler, and champion of the Black experience in America. Full of the wit and wisdom of a proud, spirited woman who started off low and climbed high, Dust Tracks on a Road is a rare treasure from one of literature’s most cherished voices.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars "I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots"
This was a book I felt I needed to have read for my general education and rounding as a person.
I am aware of what people say about the way Hurston fabricated her life for this autobiography, but isn't all of history in some way fabricated and presented through someone's eyes? I mean, this is a highly subjective field, even when presenting mere facts, it is so easy to skew things when deciding which bits to leave in and which to take out. We all do it, Hurston is no exception.
The spirit and nature of her life was captured beautifully: a sad (very), positive, hopeful, stubborn, opinionated, strong, resilient, hard-working woman. A remarkable woman in every way that I can see, and I feel right to have spent some time honouring her life by reading her story through her eyes, "Nothing that God ever made is the same thing to more than one person".
The other value of the book lay in her exploration of basic life concepts, such as Love, Friendship, Religion and Race. I always enjoy the experience of getting as close as possible to looking at things through someone else's eyes, an opportunity afforded here as Hurston shares her opinions.
Finally, I would give this 4 stars, not 5, but for some reason, star-rating is fixed at 5 for this book...

4-0 out of 5 stars Pefection, save the inaccuracies
As with any of her works, Zora being who she was has to weave in folklore, anthropology, history, and some of everything into her work. Her autbiography is no exception. She is truly one of the most poetic and artistic authors of all times. She knows how to play with words and phrases that keep you hooked; not necessarily for the content but because you are waiting to see what funny or thought-provoking thing she will say next.

The only reason I had to rate this work four stars is because of a couple of inaccuracies. She claims to have been born in Eatonville, FL for one thing. This is not true according to U.S Census records. She also takes years off of her age, but never explicitly tells when she was born.Other than that, this is one of the most interesting autobiographies that you will ever read. Also one of the most inspiring.

4-0 out of 5 stars Kicking Up Dust
I found the memoir of this icon of a Renaissance woman to be very exciting and enlightening.Hurston's revealing portrait was a curious blend of anecdote, memory, and observation. I agree to some degree with other critics who question the truth and authenticity of the story as autobiography. At times it does seem a little out of sequence and jumbled. However, it is a precious collection of material (memory, folklore, dreams, anthropology, legend, etc.) out a key era in the history of African Americans.It is very informative and regardless of its shortcomings and the questions it may leave unanswered, at the same time, it does allow us a peek into the life and psyche of a deep, delightful and brilliant woman who was certainly before her time.It is our good fortune that she was able to set down this account of her experience, which has been preserved for us to share. Hurston was obviously somewhat of a free thinker as well as a scholar and I wonder if she could have told her story any way other than the way she did, although she has been criticized for it. It is the account of a particular Black woman who had a very unusual life for the time that she lived in. I would also add that given the alternative material related to the book which has been uncovered since the initial publishing it has to be taken into account that the book was likely censored, which would color the whole picture in ways the author may not have originally intended.But I was greatly affected, inspired and informed by the book and would recommend and encourage any Hurston enthusiast to read it.

3-0 out of 5 stars zora through the eyes of zora
This is a highly compromised book. Critics are all over the board on what on earth motivated blatant lies that she told about her life, and the sugar-coating of the realities of the black experience, in america, before civil rights.

I would personally say, that this is a very unfortunate piece. I would give it three stars for its entertainment value.

Zora Neale Hurston was born in 1891, in Alabama, about 10 years before she claims, in ''dust tracks.'' She was not born in Florida.

She essentially falsifies her identity; she shares experiences from about 1900 - 1940, lived by a person who is actually 10 years older than she claims to have been!

College would look like a very different place if you experienced it at 32, than if you were to go through it at 22.

I recommend this work, only if you read it with a current biography next to it.

In hindsight, her presentation of her life and times, compared to our general understanding of her realities makes this work a very interesting historical document.

5-0 out of 5 stars Khalia
This autobiography focuses equally on her opinions (highly untraditional)and her life (also highly unorthodox) giving the reader an unashamed glance to peer into the deepest wells of her being. ... Read more

4. The Complete Stories (P.S.)
by Zora Neale Hurston
Paperback: 368 Pages (2008-01-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$4.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061350184
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This landmark gathering of Zora Neale Hurston's short fiction—most of which appeared only in literary magazines during her lifetime—reveals the evolution of one of the most important African American writers. Spanning her career from 1921 to 1955, these stories attest to Hurston's tremendous range and establish themes that recur in her longer fiction. With rich language and imagery, the stories in this collection not only map Hurston's development and concerns as a writer but also provide an invaluable reflection of the mind and imagination of the author of the acclaimed novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars the complete stories
Incredible! this is a great historical view from a colored women. If you enjoy american Southern History, You will love this book

3-0 out of 5 stars Could have been better
Isaac Bashevis Singer with a tan....and breasts. That's what I was thinking of Zora Neale Hurston as I read her Complete Stories, except she's not as good a writer nor tale teller. Or, perhaps a less skilled Sherwood Anderson. There is a sense one gets when reading these tales that Hurston was born too late. Had she been born several centuries earlier she may have been right at home writing didactic cultural tales along the lines of the Decameron or the Mabinogion. Perhaps the most fully realized story in the collection is the first one, John Redding Goes To Sea, in which a restive youth ends up getting his lifelong wish of going to sea fulfilled, but only posthumously, as a corpse flooded out in a swollen river. Here's a sample of the best of Hurston, metaphorically and musically:

Perhaps ten-year-old John was puzzling to the simple folk there in the Florida woods for he was an imaginative child and fond of day-dreams. The St. John River flowed a scarce three hundred feet from his back door. On its banks at this point grow numerous palms, luxuriant magnolias and bay trees with a dense undergrowth of ferns, cat-tails; and rope-grass. On the bosom of the stream float millions of delicately colored hyacinths. The little brown boy loved to wander down to the water's edge, and, casting in dry twigs, watch them sail away down stream to Jacksonville, the sea, the wide world and John Redding wanted to follow them.

Sometimes in his dreams he was a prince, riding away in a gorgeous carriage. Often he was a knight bestride a fiery charger prancing down the white shell road that led to distant lands. At other times he was a steamboat captain piloting his craft down the St. John River to where the sky seemed to touch the water. No matter what he dreamed or who he fancied himself to be, he always ended by riding away to the horizon; for in his childish ignorance he thought this to be farthest land.

That is excellent writing. Other stories lack the almost Serlingesque irony of that tale, in favor of didacticism, which while not necessarily a bad thing, can be too much in large doses within a tale, as well as reading too many didactic stories back to back....Which brings me to the Introduction by Gates, a man who is not a writer by profession, but a student of history. While this may qualify him to speak of Hurston in historical terms his stoop-kneed assessments of these flawed tales is saccharine and void of understanding. He lauds her destruction of potentially thought provoking material into lowest common denominator ends and shows he hasn't a clue as to what constitutes a successful narrative and a one dimensional characterization. He calls simple tales complex and points to things outside the stories, themselves, as having relevance, even though the tales do not manifest it. The only reason I point this out is the length and depth of the Introduction, and the fact that many of these ideas are regurged uncritically by young writers- white or black- who study these tales.

That said, I only wonder what Hurston might have accomplished at a later date, when there would be no pressures to change her tales- or would there be? Would she have succumbed to the fashionable PC track? Would her tales have been even more simplistic, and even more dependent upon the trite black dialect? That said, her tales have an undeniable music and poetry in their sounds, but their intellectual content is often nil. In a sense, one might consider these tales mere apprentice work for her novels, but, then, why put out this many of them in differing forms? A book of the eight or ten best tales, a Selected rather than Collected or Complete edition, would have been far more effective in highlighting her strengths and uniquities as a writer. Unfortunately, this book does the opposite, portraying Hurston as, especially in light of later black writers, rather generic, and little more than a talented Romantic, at best, and a bodice-ripping romance writer, at worst. Oy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable

I enjoyed the variety of short stories.My favorites are "The Gilded Six Bits and Their Eyes Are Watching God.

My favorite passage from the Gilded Six Bits:

"One night Joe came back home around midnight & complained of pains in the back.He asked Missie to rub him down with liniment.It had been three months since Missie had touched his body(her husband caught her in bed with another mad - Big Sistahs note) and it all seemed strange. But she rubbed him.Grateful chance.Before morning youth triumphed and Missie exulted."

What a lovely way to say they had relations - Big Sistha Pat

Their Eyes Are Watching God

I simply love this book.I love the language.It is so poetic.The following passages stood out for me:

"Naw.We been tuhgether round two years.If you kin see de light at day break, you don't keer if you die at dust.It's so many people never, seen de light at all. Ah wuz fumblin' round and God opened de door."

This passage for me is so beautiful and true. So many people die having not experienced real love. Big Sistah Pat.

"The monstropolous beast had left his bed.The two hundred miles an hour wind had lose his chains.He seized hold of his dikes and ran forward until he met the quarters;uprooted them like grass and rushed on after his supposed-to-be conquerors, rolling the dikes, rolling the houses, rolling the people in the houses a long with other timbers.The sea was walking the earth with a heavy heel."

"De lake is comin

5-0 out of 5 stars great anthology
This was a great book. You should read it before reading Their Eyes were Watching God, it really helps you understand her style of writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Black folklore from Ground Zero
Prior to Zora Neale Hurston, the rich well of black folklore was laargely written by white writers such as Joel Chandler Harris and Roark Bradford among others, with varying degrees of accuracy. Most literate and educated blacks were too ashamed of their folk cutlure to write about it until ZNH came on the scene.

This is a fine collection of some of her best short fiction. "John Redding Goes to Sea," written during her college days, accurately describes the life of an intelligent young black man feeling trapped by the illiteracy around him. "The EatonVille Anthology" is a rich collection of anecdotes about her hometown of Eatonville, Fla. "Drenched in Light" is about a free-spirited young black girl and her exasperated mother. "The Bone of Contention" is an old handed-down folklore that inspired her aborted play with Langston Hughes MULE BONE.

I could go on and on, but collections like this are of vital importance since Black folklore and stroytelling is in danger of being a dying art form. Read and keep the flame alive. ... Read more

5. De Turkey and De Law - A Comedy in Three Acts
by Zora Neale Hurston
Paperback: 70 Pages (2010-07-12)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003VTYI6O
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De Turkey and De Law - A Comedy in Three Acts is presented here in a high quality paperback edition. This popular classic work by Zora Neale Hurston is in the English language. If you enjoy the works of Zora Neale Hurston then we highly recommend this publication for your book collection. ... Read more

6. Mules and Men (P.S.)
by Zora Neale Hurston
Paperback: 368 Pages (2008-01-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$4.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061350176
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Mules and Men is a treasury of black America's folklore as collected by a famous storyteller and anthropologist who grew up hearing the songs and sermons, sayings and tall tales that have formed an oral history of the South since the time of slavery. Returning to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida, to gather material, Zora Neale Hurston recalls "a hilarious night with a pinch of everything social mixed with the storytelling." Set intimately within the social context of black life, the stories, "big old lies," songs, Vodou customs, and superstitions recorded in these pages capture the imagination and bring back to life the humor and wisdom that is the unique heritage of African Americans.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars funny
this is the first book I read by zora neale hurston, truly not the last. I enjoy reading this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful folklore, questionable Hoodoo
I'm a student/practitioner of Hoodoo and this book was on my "to read" list. The book consists of two parts, the first contains folklore Hurston gathered from her hometown in FL in the 1920s and 30's. This section of the book is wonderful and well worth the price.
The second half of the book is about Hoodoo, and while very entertaining, the authenticity is questionable. Hurston gives three accounts of her initiation into Hoodoo. Yet, during the roughly the same period of time, Harry M. Hyatt, could not find a single person of the 1,600 people he interviewed, who had experienced, participated in, or had given the type of initiation Hurston claims to have undergone. Likewise, there is no reference that Reverend Watson, whom Hurston claims gave her, her last initiation, was ever a practitioner of Hoodoo.
Scholars in this area also feel Hurston took experiences in places like Haiti and gave them a US locations, plagiarized some of her material from other authors, and inserted herself into situations that happened earlier and of which she had no part.
When all is said, I recommend the book for the folklore it contains, but take the Hoodoo with a grain of salt.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
This is a great book! It's a must have if you have a collection. Thanks!

5-0 out of 5 stars Born and Bred Southerner Heah!
I love this book. I can remember my grandmama and grand daddy and nem talkin' up a storm.These are real stories and people.It made me laugh and bring back fond memories.

One writer said that Zora was often scorned by the educated, black groups who had disdain for their own folk culture, the person was so right.

You could find the same scorn by the educated ministers who held pure scorn for any retentions of so called "primitive Africansim" in black American worship service.They did not consider it dignified - code phrase- not imitating white forms of worship.These same knuckleheads exist today.They espeically hated the "ring shout" and did everything in their power to stop the practice.

Big Sweet and nem were something else.A woman with a kind heart, but did not mind cutting you up, if you messed with her.Now we all know a Big Sweet.

My favorite sayings and quotes are:

Nat'chal Man
Hit a straight lick with a crooked stick
Work de fat offa your head
Don't let de gator beat you to the pond
Looky-dere - I am going to put a knot your head so big when you walk down the street people gonna say looky-dere, looky-dere.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Queen of Black Folklore
Whne I was 12 years old in the Summer of 1977, I found this book at the local library. I immediately saw the connection between this and the tales my father and older Blacks told around town, and this led ot my lifelong interest in folklore.

This book was actually quite revolutionary. Up to this time, most educated Blalcks scorned the folk culture of their own people and black foklore collections were usually written by whites. While a few (such as Edward CL Adams and Julia Peterkin) got it right, the results were often patronzing at best and racist mockery at worst) as few Blacks of that time would be candid with white folklore collectors.

Zora went back to her hometown of Eatonville, Fla to the front porches and juke joints that she knew and got it down right. The tales themselves are very entertaining as is the frame story of her adventures with the locals.

If you get this and Adams' "Tales of the Congaree (and B.A. Botkin's Anthology "Treasury of American Folklore"), youll get a good intro to Black American Folklore. Enjoy. ... Read more

7. Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-tales from the Gulf States
by Zora Neale Hurston
Paperback: 320 Pages (2002-10-01)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$4.12
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060934549
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Every Tongue Got to Confess is an extensive volume of African American folklore that Zora Neale Hurston collected on her travels through the Gulf States in the late 1920s.

The bittersweet and often hilarious tales -- which range from longer narratives about God, the Devil, white folk, and mistaken identity to witty one-liners -- reveal attitudes about faith, love, family, slavery, race, and community. Together, this collection of nearly 500 folktales weaves a vibrant tapestry that celebrates African American life in the rural South and represents a major part of Zora Neale Hurston's literary legacy. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars FUNNY BOOK.
It's a collection of tales featuring Brer Rabbit and many other critters. Plus there are numerous tales about people.

Hurston collected the stories in the 1920s, and the language used is slave vernacular with plentiful occurrences of 'nigger.' I grew up with the language and enjoyed reading it and hearing it in my mind.

I find it odd that Joel Chandler Harris is villified for collecting the old Brer Rabbit tales, and Hurston is applauded for doing the same thing. And I'm glad that both people preserved these treasures. The tales are funny and delightful.

Back then people were able to laugh at themselves.

4-0 out of 5 stars Telling the truth and shaming the devil...Zora's Way!
It was said from those that knew her best, that African-American folklore was Zora Neale Hurston�s first love. The ability to manifest in, and excel within the margins of her own people�swapping lies, telling tales, and giving unique meaning to life from the backhand side. Thus, if any part of her legacy is to prevail, one should pay close attention to this side of her that I feel truly helped to define her writing style. No doubt, the genesis of it all goes back to her Eatonville, Florida roots sitting on the porch of the neighborhood story listening to the older men adhere to the aforementioned. Subsequently as a Barnard student of Anthropology under the guidance of Franz Boaz, she embarked in 1927 on a two-year effort to collect samples of African-American folklore. This sets the stage for Negro Tales From The Gulf States, which can boast of an interesting evolution. This is a book written by Zora that was almost an afterthought, until recently discovered after lying in obscurity for nearly 30 years.All of this time, it was stored in a basement at Columbia University, and 20 more at the Smithsonian before coming to light at the urging of the author�s estate and others.

What we have here in borrowing Zora�s own words � �authenticity to preserve the tale-tellers way of speaking�savoring the boiled-down juice of human living�.The book is well written and organized by subject. Read it and revel in how the author used and presented vernacular that would be recognized today as Ebonics�everyday idiomatic expressionism. You will witness improvisational wordplay and given an apt explanation of how these folktales were collected, lost, found, and examined for the deep significance they hold today. These lost southern tales are brought to life by Zora�s commanding use of syntax mixed with a sense of urgency. Most of them are infused with humorous stories making a point that we can all identify with. She makes it pointedly clear that folktales were a direct link to our ancestral background, and served a purpose. I marveled at how she was able to use stories made famous by others in how they were reworked and related from a black point of view, giving them a special cross-cultural ring. For instance, to the story of a woman who promises the devil that she will break up a marriage in exchange for a pair of shoes, or how she gives reasons why God gave women keys to the bedroom, the kitchen, and the cradle. You will die laughing, and you will definitely be amused by the punch lines and the Zora penchant for comedic timing.

If there�s a reason to want to understand folktales told from the mind of this unique storyteller, you�d want to be enlightened in digesting this type of wit that the author seem to make timeless. In accumulating this body of work, Hurston clearly placed as much emphasis on imagination as on truism. Often she got both. With all the other offering of late alluding to Zora Neale Hurston, you might as well add this book to your collection. You won�t regret it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Like a Window to the Past
If only Zora Neale Hurston could've published this book during her lifetime! Luckily her papers containing her research were rediscoveredand we now have this gorgeous collection of stories. Some of them were familiar to me from listening to my grandparents tell tall tales, others were completely new. These stories are funny, frightening and enlightening. Our elders and ancestors were amazing people with a tough and even cynical sense of humor. If we are lucky more of Hurston's research will be found and more will be published.

Kimberley Wilson, author of 11 Things Mama Never Told You About Men

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection of Black Folklore
If you grew up hearing older folks get together and swap wild stories, or if you have an academic interest in folklore, then this is for you! Essentially, the great Folklorist Zora Neale Hurston spent 1928 and 29 among rural Blacks in Florida and Alabama jotting down their folk tales and witty sayings. Being a Black Southerner herself gave her an insider's access that made her interviewees comfortable in sharing with her. The final manuscript, "Negro Folktales of the Gulf States" remained unpublished till now. Some of these tales were published in 1935 with a framework story of Miss Hurston's adventures among her interviewees entitled "Mules and Men." But here, the stories exist in their orignial, uncut form without a framework story. Once the modern reader becomes accustomed to the printed approximation of Southern African-American dialect, you can sit back and enjoy the folk wisdom and humorous tales. So imagine that Grandpa, Uncle Wille, and all the others are gathered around your porch with a pitcher of lemonade on a pleasant afternoon and enjoy this African-American equivalent to "Aesop's Fables" and "The Arabian Nights." ... Read more

8. I Love Myself When I Am Laughing... And Then Again: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader
by Zora Neale Hurston
Paperback: 320 Pages (1993-01-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$6.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0912670665
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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   The most prolific African-American woman author from 1920 to 1950, Hurston was praised for her writing and condemned for her independence, arrogance, and audaciousness. This unique anthology, with 14 superb examples of her fiction, journalism, folklore, and autobiography, rightfully establishes her as the intellectual and spiritual leader of the next generation of black writers. In addition to six essays and short stories, the collection includes excerpts from Dust Tracks on the Road; Mules and Me; Tell My Horse; Jonah's Gourd Vine; Moses, Man of the Mountain; and Their Eyes Were Watching God. The original commentary by Alice Walker and Mary Helen Washington, two African-American writers in the forefront of the Hurston revival, provide illuminating insights into Hurston-the writer, the person-as well as into American social and cultural history.
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars how does it feel to be coloured me
This is a collection of work from the novelist Zora Neale Hurston. It contains fourteen remarkable selections from a writer who produced novels, essays and letters from 1920 - 1950. It is an anthology of works that provides a wonderful insight into American social and cultural history as well as offering an incredible mental picture of the woman - Hurston. The book is edited by Alice Walker.In 2007 the Guardian newspaper asked women to recommend a book that had made an impact on them as women. Zadie Smith wrote passionately about Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and how, having read this book, her life and writing had been enriched.

I feel at last here was recognition for a black woman writer who Alice Walker describes as "a woman ahead of her time

The book is an extraordinary journey through the title. Hurston writes about black American `folk art' that is questioning and without apology. In the words of Alice Walker "the language of the characters, that `dialect' that has been laughed at, denied or ignored, or `improved' so that white folks ......can understand it is simply beautiful".

Hurston's writing is mean and impressive and she challenges the reader to think and go back and think again - about the meaning of her words. You find yourself asking: is she challenging the `politics' of the day in Crazy for This Democracy, or is she an artist of words, challenging assumptions about ethnicity and culture in What White Publishers Won't Print?

I have dipped into this book over the years and never cease to be amazed and thankful for a language that is rich in meaning and colour, never dull and always inspirational and always able to provide a quote or a text that has meaning for today's readers. I do not think this anthology is now in print. However, other works of Hurston are and readers are to be encouraged to go and seek them out.

This is what Hurston had to say about herself, "I couldn't see it for wearing it. It was only when I was off in college, away from my native surroundings, that I could see myself like somebody else and stand off and look at my garment".

Again she captured the art of critical reflection in a way that I couldn't.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic for Research Purposes
I am using this text as mainly research for an honors thesis I am writing for my Undergraduate English major. Although it was extremely helpful making connections and describing Hurston the author, it was also extremely enjoyable, holding not only critical essays but exerpts as well. I'd recommend it to any Hurston fan.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ignore the commentary
Zora Neal Hurston was an iconoclast. In her time her career suffered because she wasn't interested in writing the kind of stuff Langston Hughes and Richard Wright were churning out. The editors of this collection of excerpts of her major works are a lot like her critics. They try mightily to portray Zora as something she was not and are puzzled by Zora's statements that seem pretty straightforward to me. Read Zora's stories, folklore and especially the excerpt from her biography and skip the commentary. ... Read more

9. Speak, So You Can Speak Again: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston
by Lucy Hurston
Hardcover: 32 Pages (2004-10-19)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$6.98
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Asin: 0385493754
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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One of the most beguiling and captivating figures of the twentieth century, Zora Neale Hurston gained fame as a bestselling author, anthropologist, journalist, and playwright. Her remarkable life is presented as never before in SPEAK, SO YOU CAN SPEAK AGAIN.An interactive package tracing Hurston’s journey from Eatonville, Florida, to her student days at Barnard College, to her emergence as a literary star and bestselling author and cultural icon during the Harlem Renaissance and her subsequent decline into obscurity, it contains beautifully crafted facsimiles of historic papers, handwritten notes, photographs, and much more.

Readers will be able to hold in their hands the charred draft notes for the novel, Seraph on the Suwannee; open a Christmas card Hurston created for her friends; and read letters illuminating her relationships with intimate friends and fellow writers like Langston Hughes and Dorothy West. SPEAK, SO YOU CAN SPEAK AGAIN also provides the extraordinary opportunity to hear Hurston’s own voice talking about her life as a writer on several radio interviews, and, in a powerful interlude, singing a passionate rendition of a railroad worker’s chant she learned while collecting folklore in the Deep South.

Interest in Hurston continues to soar. Her most famous book, Their Eyes Are Watching God, is now in development at Oprah Winfrey’s production company, Harpo, and is also being adapted for Broadway. The sales of her books attest to an ever-growing audience. Whether they are discovering Hurston for the first time or are devoted fans, readers will find hours of entertainment in SPEAK, SO YOU CAN SPEAK AGAIN.

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Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Raw
When I purchase this book, I did not know that Zora Neal was so raw.
Her words are on the cutting edge!!

5-0 out of 5 stars "Speak..." is like seeing Avatar in 3D versus 2D
I need background info about Zora Neale Hurston before I lead a discussion on her short story, "Sweat," for my Women in Literature class. As the sole male student I want to know my stuff, not just Google Hurston.

Then this book came in the mail. "Speak..." is like holding private treasures from Z N H's attic, only better.

Lucy Anne Hurston compiled and composed a spectacular work (not just a terrific read, but rich in primary source material) as a gift of affection and awe over her aunt's bodacious talents. "Wow" just about says it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Black is Beautiful!
Zora Neal Hurston shows us what life was like for African Americans in the early part of the 20th century.Thank God for her realism and honesty!

5-0 out of 5 stars A gem of history that touches all senses
I came across this book at a Pamida drugstore of all places, so thank you Pamida book buyer.As a fan of Hurston, I am thrilled to have this beautiful labor of love by her niece.To have a CD of Hurston singing and talking, to hold in my hands copies of her letters and manuscripts tucked throughout this cleverly designed work of art, it just brought tears to my eyes.What an amazing and wonderful tribute this is.I may not know much about the black experience, but I can tell you that great literature leaps all racial boundaries and brings us that much closer to understanding each other. Thank you Lucy Anne Hurston!

5-0 out of 5 stars Zora Hurston's artifacts
An unusual but delightful collection about Ms. Hurston. Listen to her sing and talk. The book is beautiful. Her works are wonderful for everyone--not only women. ... Read more

10. Zora Neale Hurston : Novels and Stories : Jonah's Gourd Vine / Their Eyes Were Watching God / Moses, Man of the Mountain / Seraph on the Suwanee / Selected Stories (Library of America)
by Zora Neale Hurston
Hardcover: 1054 Pages (1995-02-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$17.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0940450836
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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When she died in obscurity in 1960, all her books wereout of print. Now, Zora Neale Hurston is recognized as one of the mostimportant and influential modern American writers. This volume, withits companion, "Zora Neale Hurston: Folklore, Memoirs, and OtherWritings," brings together for the first time all of Hurston's bestworks in one authoritative set. It features the acclaimed 1937 novel"Their Eyes Were Watching God," a lyrical masterpiece about a woman'sstruggle for love and independence. "Jonah's Gourd Vine," based on thestory of Hurston's parents, details the rise and fall of a preachertorn between spirit and flesh. "Moses, Man of the Mountain" is ahigh-spirited retelling of the Exodus story in blackvernacular. "Seraph on the Suwanee" portrays the passionate clashbetween a poor southern "cracker" and her willful husband. A selectionof short stories further displays Hurston's unique fusion of folktraditions and literary modernism--comic, ironic, and soaringlypoetic. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Bee and the Blossom
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is a bittersweet novel that emphasizes the relationship between nature and human life.The protagonist, Janie Mae Crawford, begins the novel by returning to Eatonville, a small town where all her thoughts and emotions were once considered worthless.She is reunited with her closest friend, Phoebe Watson, and relates to her the story of why she suddenly disappeared years ago.Through this unfolding of Janie's intriguing yet depressing life story, the reader is able to witness how society can corrupt the harmony of nature and also the joy of human life.
Before Janie moved to Eatonville, an all black town, she lived with her Nanny.At sixteen, Janie was already imagining what marriage was like.She would sit underneath her blossomed pear tree and witness a bee singing calmly while getting nectar out of each flower.She longed to be loved and cared for like the blossom, but she did not know where or how to find her singing bee.Her Nanny grew worried that her young granddaughter would be taken advantage of by men; so therefore, Janie's marriage was arranged.
Zora Neale Hurston uses symbolism throughout her novel to allow the reader to discover her message.She uses the bee and the blossom to emphasize the harmony and unity that should exist in not only marriage but in life.Hurston travels through many marriages and downfalls of Janie's life, but accentuates her persistence and strength to find her independence and joy.
Written in only seven weeks, this romantic classic has the ability to give the reader insight of how a woman, like Janie, lived in a society where men were considered dominate.The setting of this book takes place in the past where women were viewed as frail - lacking in both opinion and power.Hurston portrays that women deserve independence and respect through Janie, the female hero.In addition, the style of the novel is written as a frame story, creating parallels to the traditions of black culture.The custom of oral tradition is shown in the beginning of this novel when Janie begins to explain to Phoebe her story, "You can tell `em what Ah say if you wants to.Dat's just de same as me `cause mah tongue is in mah friend's mouf." This style of writing not only captures the reader into vivid imagination and strong emotions, but also indirectly enlightens the reader about the culture of a small African American society.
Their Eyes Were Watching God is a book that emphasizes love, joy, and adventure.Although it may not interest many men, for it is more of a feminist novel, women would be more inclined to relate and sympathize with Janie's story.This book encourages the reader not to become trapped in society's expectations but to become independent and to pursue his or her own aspirations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superlative Author
Zora Neale Hurston is, without a doubt, one of the giants of literature of the last century. Capturing the heart and soul of the deep South--both "colored" and "white"--her works breathe life into the characters she portrays, leaving readers with the "slice of life" they are seeking from an outstanding writer of the period. Now, for the first time, this volume serves the reader the whole pie.

Whether Hurston studied the practice of Voodoo in the Caribbean, the folkways of African-Americans in the Old South, or the interrelationships of the races in the society of her time (especially in the trial of Ruby McCollum, which she covered for the Pittsburgh Courier), she tackled her subject with a degree of enthusiasm that is seldom matched.

5-0 out of 5 stars BUY THIS BOOK!

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspired
If Ms Hurston finally gets the readers she deserves, she will take her place among America's finest writers of the 20th Century.She is a joy to read and repays second and third perusals.The oral narrative quality of her writing places her squarely in the company of the best of her Southern contemporaries.She shares their great gifts. By all means, don't deny yourself the pleasure of reading her work. ... Read more

11. Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Paperback: Pages (1990)
-- used & new: US$12.66
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Asin: B002WTEQZ2
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars I have gifted this book more than any other.
I first read this book in college. The lead character has such a powerful blend of pride and self worth in the face of the numerous tragedies that befall her that the value of this book cannot be overstated. The climax of this book is so vivid and amazing that I still buy copies of this book for people. Hoepfully, unlike, the other review here, most readers will be able to identify with the character's setting and what language is appropriate for that setting. It is sad that someone would be unable to see the beauty of this book for such trivialities.

1-0 out of 5 stars classic literature?
My son (Junior in high school) has to read this book as an English assignment, so I thought I read it with him. I DON'T like the language, the suggestive tone, the slang. I just don't get it.... don't understand half of it because they don't use proper English. It's confusing, perverted, repulsive and tasteless. I didn't get past the first quarter of the book and set it aside. To me it's not worth my time to read. So sorry my son will have to read it to get the grade. ... Read more

12. The Cambridge Introduction to Zora Neale Hurston (Cambridge Introductions to Literature)
by Lovalerie King
Paperback: 160 Pages (2008-10-13)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$3.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521670950
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Their Eyes Were Watching God is a key text in African American literature. Its author Zora Neale Hurston has become an iconic figure for her literary works and for her invaluable contribution to documenting elements of black folk culture in the rural south and in the Caribbean. This introductory book designed for students explores Hurston's artistic achievements and her unique character: her staunch individualism, her penchant for drama, her sometimes controversial politics, her philosophical influences and her views on gender relations. Lovalerie King explores Hurston's life and analyses her major works and short stories. Historical, social, political, and cultural contexts for Hurston's life and work, including her key role in the development of the Harlem Renaissance, are set out. The book concludes with an overview of the reception of Hurston's work, both in her lifetime and up to the present, as well as suggestions for further reading. ... Read more

13. Jonah's Gourd Vine: A Novel (P.S.)
by Zora Neale Hurston
Paperback: 288 Pages (2008-01-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$3.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061350192
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Jonah's Gourd Vine, Zora Neale Hurston's first novel, originally published in 1934, tells the story of John Buddy Pearson, "a living exultation" of a young man who loves too many women for his own good. Lucy, his long-suffering wife, is his true love, but there's also Mehaley and Big 'Oman, as well as the scheming Hattie, who conjures hoodoo spells to ensure his attentions. Even after becoming the popular pastor of Zion Hope, where his sermons and prayers for cleansing rouse the congregation's fervor, John has to confess that though he is a preacher on Sundays, he is a "natchel man" the rest of the week. And so in this sympathetic portrait of a man and his community, Zora Neale Hurston shows that faith, tolerance, and good intentions cannot resolve the tension between the spiritual and the physical. That she makes this age-old dilemma come so alive is a tribute to her understanding of the vagaries of human nature.

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Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jonah's Gourd Vine
This book was needed quick for a college class - thanks for making it easily accessible without having to leave the house to search for it.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Agree this is an underground treasure
This was a very interesting story, I enjoyed this book better than Their Eyes Were Watching God, and that says alot. The story of John Buddy is a turnpager and you will not be disappointed. The best I've read in a long time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sorrows Kitchen - Can I get a witness?
I loved this story.The story is so true to life for many women who are with men, who don't seem to be able to get it together, unless there is a woman making it happen.

The husband is a great orator, but isn't the kind of man he should be.His wife is his long suffering mate. I just love Zora's use of black dialet.It is so beautiful.

When I read the following excerpt, it felt like something hit me in the head.I was moved beyond words.It goes something like this:"Ah done been in sorrows kitchen, and ah done licked out all the pots; ah done died in grief and been buried in de bitter waters.Ah done rose from the dead lak Lazarus. Nothing can touch mah soul no mo!"

I highly recomment it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I got an excellent book from this person. thank you so much. great doing business with you.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read
I always thought of Toni Morrison as the leader, the queen, and the matriarch of black women's fiction, but the more I read of Zora Neale Hurston, the more I feel that everyone else must have taken their cues from her!

Her writing is enchanting and thought provoking, her use of "black" language is absolutely delightful. The story and the characters are interesting in and of themselves. What makes this work really shine is the language, and the heritage and history that it preserves.She takes care to write the way that people speak, resulting a unorthodox spelling and usage that at first I had to say out loud in order to properly understand. (My grandmother didn't have to do that, though, and for that reason alone, she loved Zora Hurston.)Ms. Hurston also uses words, idioms and phrases that are unique to black america, and that my generation would likely have lost -- the news of the "Black Dispatch," "Old Hannah" rising,"hittin' a straight lick with a crooked stick." Some of the sayings I remember my Grandmother using, and some I remember using as a child. I found all of them interesting and beautiful, and I am grateful to Ms. Hurston for finding them valuable enough to put down.
... Read more

14. Mules and Men: Negro Folktales and Voodoo Practices in the South
by Zora Neale Hurston, Franz Boaz
 Mass Market Paperback: 342 Pages (1970)

Asin: B000HJD6JQ
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15. Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston (Lisa Drew Books)
by Valerie Boyd
Paperback: 528 Pages (2004-01-27)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$4.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743253299
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A woman of enormous talent and remarkable drive, Zora Neale Hurston published seven books, many short stories, and several articles and plays over a career that spanned more than thirty years. Today, nearly every black woman writer of significance -- including Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker -- acknowledges Hurston as a literary foremother, and her 1937 masterpiece Their Eyes Were Watching God has become a crucial part of the modern literary canon.

Wrapped in Rainbows, the first biography of Zora Neale Hurston in more than twenty-five years, illuminates the adventures, complexities, and sorrows of an extraordinary life. Acclaimed journalist Valerie Boyd delves into Hurston's history -- her youth in the country's first incorporated all-black town, her friendships with luminaries such as Langston Hughes, her sexuality and short-lived marriages, and her mysterious relationship with vodou. With the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression, and World War II as historical backdrops, Wrapped in Rainbows not only positions Hurston's work in her time but also offers riveting implications for our own. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Genius of Zora
I had been reading about the genius of Zora for several years, but I had no idea of what she was about.I heard Valerie Boyd speaking about her biography on Zora C Span.She spoke about Zora with such love and respect that I felt that I had to get the book.In Boyd's hands, what is generally portrayed as a tragic life becomes a story of triumph.In spite of poverty, sexism, and racism, she was able to produce important literary work which is now being recognized as such.The story of her early life in the south, her life in Harlem, and her later years make a great read.I loved this book.

Morris Johnson

4-0 out of 5 stars Important look at an important American writer.
While Zora Neale Hurston was truly a great writer, she also did an amazing job of documenting her beloved Florida's history. Taking advantage of President Roosevelt's W.P.A. project and doing her best to get around Florida noting stories of black America that are still available to us today.

'Wrapped in Rainbows' does a terrific job of wrapping all of this plus her excursions to New York and her otherwise sad life in this very well written book. Good luck getting out of this book without a tear shed. I feel this is a must-read for anyone wanting to know the life of an author or of life in Florida during Zora's lifetime.

A side note: Something not mentioned in this book or anything else I've read about Zora is if she ever ran across her contemporary and, I feel Northern doppelganger, Dorothy Parker. Though both had different career milestones, both were also after certain career and personal goals that were never met and both were nearly the same age. This is something that really dogged me while reading the book and noticing the similarities. The big difference between the two is that Parker was a depressed sort and Zora did her best to keep looking up. As well we all should.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very detailed.
This is a very good book on the life of Zora Neale Hurston. It is very detailed and written very well. If you are interested in the life of this famous author this is for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Felt Tip Pen - Zora
Valerie Boyd blew breath into Zora Neale Hurston's remarkable accomplishments. I felt as if I was riding alongside Zora while Boyd narrated the different scenes;Zora was like a felt tip pen, as creative as could be. Of course, I wasn't ready to get off the ride, but I believe Zora lived a fulfilled life with little bumps and potholes or life lessons along the way.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Biography I Have Ever Read
Valerie Boyd does what most biographers cannot; she makes facts as savory as fiction. As a great admirer of Zora Neale Hurston--the woman, I had long been searching for a piece of work that captures her emminence and vitality. I stumbled across "Wrapped in Rainbows" at Borders and resolved then and there that I HAD to have it. I do not at all regret this choice. Order this book, and I guarantee that it will be one of the best investments you ever make! The chapters on the Harlem Renaissance and Zora's involvment with it are magical, and the sections detailing Zora's friendship and eventual fued with Langston Hughes are fascinating. I can't say enough positive things about this biography. If you admire the spunky and talented Ms. Hurston, you will NOT be disappointed. ... Read more

16. The Mule-Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life in Three Acts
by Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-10-04)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B002RKRLHG
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Well, after reading it.......
Aside from the controversy of the dispute between Hughes and Hurston, I deal with the story and play itself.

The play "Mule Bone" is based on "The Bone of Contention," a 1930 short story by the Queen of Black Folklore (ZNH) based on a folktale from her hometown of Eatonville Fla. about two men who fight over a turkey. One uses a Mule bone to assault the other, and the town's Black Baptists and Methodists split over the issue as Mayor Joe Clarke tries to settle the matter.

The play by Hughes and Hurston is similar, only the two men are now a song and dance team fighting over the affections of a local vamp and an epilogue is added to the ending.

Overall, it's mildly amusing. It does a decent job in capturing some subtleties of Black rural life in 1930 such as the courting rituals and the "dozens" insults between the Black Baptists and Methodists (one Baptist insults a Methodist as a "half-washed Christian." Anyone familiar with the competing theologies will have a good laugh at this one). But those familair with Hurston's work will see a lot of "The Eatonville Anthology" and the later "Mules and Men" here. Nothing really outstanding to the Hurston fan, but worthy of a few chuckles.

However, had this play been performed in 1930, I doubt very seriously that it would have been considered as revolutionary as the authors intended. It would have surely set off a firestorm of controversy. Given the fact that few literate Blacks who attended plays wanted anything to remind them of their rural Southern origins, this play would have been damned and dismissed by the African-American elite and white liberals of the day. While the heavy dialect, the use of the n-word, the casual attitude toward domestic violence, the illiteracy and pompousness of many characters, etc. were realistic aspects of Black rural life at the time, this was a side of Black life that many feared would be exploited by bigots to prevent their inclusion into mainstream society. In fact, I have read where these issues accompanied the play upon its actual performance in 1991.

But even a so-so effort by Hughes and Hurston proves to be far more interesting than many other efforts by others at the time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dramatizing Folklore
We are fortunate that this play was finally produced well over 50 years after it was written.Hurston and Hughes wrote an interesting play that needs a bit of fine tuning in order to be a truly great play.If they had been able to stage this production in the 1930s, the play could have really changed the ways that African-American culture is expressed through musical comedy.One of their great contributions is their use of actual stories and traditional songs from African-American folklore in this play, and the collective ear of Hurston and Hughes in presenting the voices of black people really creates an authentic sound to the dialogue.Unfortunately, disputes between Hurston and Hughes kept them from staging the play, an ironic development since the play is a satiric look at factionalism within a small community.With historical hindsight, this play adds to our understanding of the Harlem Renaissance and the work of two great writers.It's also very much worth reading in relation to Hurston's other writing, especially _Mules and Men_.

... Read more

17. Zora Neale Hurston : Folklore, Memoirs, and Other Writings : Mules and Men, Tell My Horse, Dust Tracks on a Road, Selected Articles (The Library of America, 75)
by Zora Neale Hurston
Hardcover: 1001 Pages (1995-02-01)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$21.36
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Asin: 0940450844
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The second of a two-volume collection follows a theme of African-American heritage and folklore and includes Mules and Men, Tell My Horse, Folklore, Memoirs, and Other Writings, and Hurston's controversial autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars great collection
This book and its companion from the library of america, have everything that Hurston wrote - except some unedited manuscripts, and some articles and short stories.

Her interest in language, folklore and ritual, and the cult of local color comes through in all of her works. The personalities and struggles, failures and victories of all of her characters become real for the reader.

She is writing earlier in the 20th century, when people were starting to buy radios and automobiles -- she saw a lot of the south, and north, rapidly transform into the beginnings of the consumer culture we know today.

When I read Hurston, it is like I feel an anxiety to preserve. I sense a underlying insight, that she probably had, that within a couple of generations, the rhythm of life would radically change.

I think she saw that a lot of the folk traditions and rituals in North America would disappear, so she did what she could to demonstrate a vibrant african american cultural life, as she knew it, and interpreted it.

The two collections of Hurston's work show the span of her writing, over her lifetime. These pieces reveal how many of her imagination and many of her themes and character-types evolve over the years.

I recommend the two volumes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Any Hurston writing is worth the reading
The debate of whether Ms Hurston was a true Harlem Renaissance writer isdoes so little justice to her contributions to that scene that I spent anentire semester debating it. Of course she was and she was one of thewriters who helped give it its significance. Just the scene in Jonah'sGourd where she is talking about the physical features of the maleprotagonist is important enough. Her "peope" are real and youwonder if she had interacted with them in real life because they are yourneighbors, relatives and friends...they are just that touchable. Her painin life comes through all her books but you are so busy savoring her prosethat you only wonder about it after you are done. The best thing to do isto gather several authors from that period and read them all. She is amongthe genius of the era but you will see how far she stands out from thebrilliant. ... Read more

18. Tell My Horse
by Zora Neale Hurston
Kindle Edition: 336 Pages (2008-02-19)
list price: US$10.99
Asin: B0013L2BN4
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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As a first-hand account of the weird mysteries and horrors of voodoo, Tell My Horse is an invaluable resource and fascinating guide. Based on Zora Neale Hurston's personal experiences in Haiti and Jamaica, where she participated as an initiate rather than just an observer of voodoo practices during her visits in the 1930s, this travelogue into a dark world paints a vividly authentic picture of ceremonies and customs and superstitions of great cultural interest.

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Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tell My Horse
Vital, energizing and most of all factual. No Hollywood metaphors here.This is the real earth-affirming belief and one that can have beneficent effects on those who really research and practice it.A well-written blessing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Tellin'
I enjoyed reading this book.Ms. Zora is an excellent story teller.Jamaicans and the duppies make me smile. Duppies are like zombies y'all.Those duppies can be some serious pests.When you die, you should stay dead. She also lets us into the world of Jamaicans and Haitians.The power of colonialism and slavery are far reaching into the

Black man's psyche.

5-0 out of 5 stars Indeed, truth is stranger than fiction
This book is as mysterious and thought-provoking as expected from the author. As always, she presents the reader with a point of view that is very personal, and so deeply informed. I don't believe anyone else could have had the range of resources she did on the subjects. I knew very little about Voodoo, or the history of Jamaica and Haiti. I trust Ms. Hurston to have given us an insightful, if brief overview of the state of affairs at that time, in these places. The photos are remarkable.

4-0 out of 5 stars Speaking through the Horse's Mouthpiece
This book includes a small section on Jamaica but concentrates mainly on vodou practices in Haiti.I am impressed with Hurston's skill as a travel writer in the section on Jamaica.The images from the island are vivid and written in a lush style.She includes lots of descriptions of Jamaicans' folk culture; the sections on spiritual beings called "duppies" is especially rich.The major focus of the book, however, is on Haiti in general and vodou in particular.Hurston's style is even more impressive in this section.Some passages, such as her blending of mythic images with history, are characteristic of some of her finest writing.The content is equally spectacular, as she writes vibrantly about a range of spiritual beliefs, practices, and rituals.Some of the more fantastical elements, including a description of a corpse that sat upright in a funeral ritual and a photograph of a living zombie seem more like ethnographic fiction than valid social scientific work.As a result, some have dismissed this book as more of a travelogue or even a fictionalized ethnography.In recent years, however, scientific studies have supported Hurston's argument that there is a rationalistic, and perhaps even, a-rationalistic basis for what she observed and discussed.In this respect, her in-depth and sympathetic analysis of vodou is much more interesting and much more relevant to the study of religious experience and folk culture in the islands.It also interesting to think about how she was completing the fieldwork in Haiti while she was also writing other works, including "Their Eyes Were Watching God."That aspect of her life history really adds to an understanding of this book, and it adds to an understanding of her novel and numerous short stories.

4-0 out of 5 stars Caribbean life in early 20th century
Tell My Horse provides good descriptions of some aspects of life for descendants of slaves in Jamaica and Haiti during the 1920's and 30's. It is objective without being judgmental.It is based on the author's personal experiences so is a first-hand account and is one of only a few such works in existence on this aspect of Caribbean life during this time period.
While the subject of voodoo is covered thoroughly, Hurston also describes living conditions and some historical events that were relevant to her subject.The book appears to be well-researched and Hurston is sympathetic to her subjects without being overly sentimental. ... Read more

19. Seraph on the Suwanee
by Zora Neale Hurston
 Hardcover: Pages (1948)

Asin: B000UDZJK8
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars 'Florida Crackers' in love.
This novel about two 'Florida crackers' marks a departure for the author famous for her complex accounts of black culture and heritage.
of insights into the nature of love, attraction, faith, and loyalty.
Seraph on the Suwanee is the story of two people at once deeply in love and deeply at odds. The heroine, young Arvay Henson, is convinced she will never find true love and happiness, and defends herself from unwanted suitors by throwing hysterical fits and professing religious fervor. Arvay meets her match, however, in handsome Jim Meserve, a bright, enterprising young man who knows that Arvay is the woman for him, and refuses to allow her to convince him otherwise. With the same passion and understanding that have made Their Eyes Were Watching God a classic, Hurston explores the evolution of a marriage full of love but very little communication and the desires of a young woman in search of herself and her place in the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quintessential Hurston
Hurston had a way of delving into human emotions and the ways of the heart. This book is a sterling example.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book
I am a huge fan of Toni Morrison,in particular Song of Soloman, but after having read Seraph on the Suwanee, I have a new favorite author in Zora Neale Hurston and a new favorite book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thematically disconcerting, but often brilliant and funny
Hurston once told the author Carl Van Vechten (who, although white, wrote best-selling works--both fiction and non-fiction--about blacks) that she had "hopes of breaking that silly old rule about Negroes not writing about white people." Her last major work, "Seraph on the Suwanee," fulfilled that hope; her lead characters are an impoverished upper-class Southerner, Jim Meserve, and his Southern "cracker" wife, Arvay.

The first 70 pages or so are among the slyest Hurston ever wrote--it's impossible not to chuckle at the description of Jim and Arvay's courtship, especially his handling of her psychosomatic catatonic fit. The novel takes a sharp turn, however, once the couple are married and have three children. Part soap opera, part morality tale, Jim and Arvay's story begins as a clash of the Titans and ends like "The Taming of the Shrew."

As Jim becomes wealthy and rises in social status, Arvay's insecurity increases, and she worries that "he had never taken her for his equal. He was that same James Kenneth Meserve of the great plantations, and looked down on her as the backwoods Cracker." She feels increasingly out of place around their educated, well-off neighbors and even her children. For his part, Jim fears that all his efforts at providing comfort and security to Arvay have come to naught: "He didn't make her out at all. Didn't she want him anymore?" And he feels that Arvay expresses her "love like a coward." What plagues the couple more than anything else is simply an inability to communicate.

Yet it's unclear what message Hurston is trying to convey; at times the "lesson" seems a little creepy. Although Jim never abuses Arvay (in many ways, he's a dashing prince to her Southern Cinderella), the mental and social "tests" to which he subjects her are, at the least, emotionally vexing. Hurston seems to feel that the real problem is Arvay's refusal to mature with her surroundings instead of Jim's expectation that Arvay should appreciate what he's done for her and their family. He clearly loves his wife, but wants her to change. (Sound familiar?) Ultimately, the barometer for success in their relationship is Arvay's ability to redefine herself on Jim's terms, and one wonders if Jim's last name, Meserve, is meant as a wicked pun. (A cynic might argue, hyperbolically, that it's a short skip to the premise of "The Stepford Wives.")

Hurston wrote "Seraph" in 1948, when she had become increasingly conservative, both politically and socially. She was a zealous Republican, she once asserted that "the Jim Crow system works" (although she later claimed she was quoted out of context), and she condemned the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education. She also joined the Florida Negro Defense Committee largely because she felt the group did not view blacks as "victims"--similar to the way that she seems to lack sympathy for Avray's lack of confidence. One is tempted, then, to read the novel through this prism. Fortunately, however, the book's message is a little more ambiguous than I make it out to be; in the end, "Seraph" describes the emotionally excruciating path necessary to achieve a mutually sympathetic relationship. Whatever the meaning, it's a great story: sometimes funny, often brilliant, and absorbing like a train wreck: you can't take your eyes off Arvay and Jim even when you see they're heading for a collision.

3-0 out of 5 stars Seraph on the Suwannee
"Seraph on the Suwanee" provides interesting dialog details into the lives of the "Florida crackers" (i.e. poor southern whites) in the early 20th century, but at times, it's difficult to follow where this story is going.

The novel follows the marriage of Jim and Arvay Meserve.The novel paints Jim Meserve as an ambitious and resourceful, yet also chauvanistic and sometimes violent man.The central character is the wife, Arvay, who is timid, uneducated, and (overly) sensitive. Told from Arvay's point of view, the problem with the story is that it is essentially one-sided and is more like the story of her life from her point of view.Only toward the later 1/3 of the book is she given a challenge and a mild conflict emerges when she is challenged to prove herself worthy of her husband.Here is where I think the novel fails-we never really see any growth, development, or maturity in Arvay throughout the novel.It is only in the last couple of chapters that she has a "self-awakening" experience caused by the death of her mother.This "self-discovery" and the following reconciliation with Jim is weak and disappointing in my opinion.I enjoyed the book, Hurston is simply a great story teller-- she paced it appropriately, injected lively dialog, believable characters and situations, and provided colorful imagery.However, I think I would have enjoyed this story if it were two-sided; I found myself wanting to know more about Jim, his background, his thoughts and motivation. ... Read more

20. Moses, Man of the Mountain
by Zora Neale Hurston
Kindle Edition: 352 Pages (2010-04-29)
list price: US$10.99
Asin: B003JBI2K2
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In this 1939 novel based on the familiar story of the Exodus, Zora Neale Hurston blends the Moses of the Old Testament with the Moses of black folklore and song to create a compelling allegory of power, redemption, and faith. Narrated in a mixture of biblical rhetoric, black dialect, and colloquial English, Hurston traces Moses's life from the day he is launched into the Nile river in a reed basket, to his development as a great magician, to his transformation into the heroic rebel leader, the Great Emancipator. From his dramatic confrontations with Pharaoh to his fragile negotiations with the wary Hebrews, this very human story is told with great humor, passion, and psychological insight—the hallmarks of Hurston as a writer and champion of black culture.

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Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating, Unique Look at Moses' Experiences
This very readable novel takes a unique slant on the stories of the Exodus.It offers a fascinating perspective, both from those already steeped in this ancient story and for those who have never read it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good thought
The books was for a reading group I belong to. It was an ok book, but I had trouble with the "accent" used in the book. I thought it was clever how the author created names for the unnamed and the missing parts of Moses life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moses, Man of the Mountain
This is a beautifully written telling of the story of Moses leading the Hebrews slaves from Egypt to their freedom. However, it is told from the point of view of the people, and in this case, the people speak in the vernacular of the Black people who lived in the southern United States over fifty years ago.
Zora Neale Thurston brings a different interpretation to the famous story, and yet deals with the philosophies and Biblical details that we are all familiar with.
An excellent book!!

4-0 out of 5 stars A witty, accessible retelling of "what Africa sees in Moses"
In the introduction to this 1939 novel, Hurston says that Africans (and, by extension African Americans) revere Moses "not because of his beard nor because he brought the laws down from Sinai" but "because he had the power to go up the mountain and bring them down. . . . [W]ho can talk with God face to face? Who has the power to command God to go to a peak of mountainand there demand of Him laws with which to govern a nation? . . . That calls for power, and that is what Africa sees in Moses."

Hurston incorporates the African tradition into her retelling of the Exodus story, along with that tradition's humor, colloquialisms, wit, irreverence, and apocryphal embellishments. The result is probably her most accessible work, an undemanding read that still reflects a mirror on such issues as politics, slavery, and feminism. The novel is remarkably faithful to the original, but Hurston's Old Testaments heroes and their adversaries are fleshed out as lethargic, selfish, dithering, conniving, as well as joyous, loving, and (above all) human. Moses's brother Aaron and sister Miriam, for example, are depicted as much a hindrance to the movement as a help.

Moses himself is presented warts and all. As expected, he's the savior who leads a slave nation from captivity to the freedom of a Promised Land, the wise prophet who brings law and government to an unruly and divided people. Still, Hurston's Moses observes that "the first law of Nature is that everybody likes to receive things, but nobody likes to feel grateful. And the very next law is that people talk about tenderness and mercy, but they love force. If you feed a thousand people you are a nice man with suspicious motives. If you kill a thousand you a hero." And Moses does kill--not only Egyptian soldiers hot in pursuit, but 3,000 of his own people: defenseless, drunken revelers paying homage to a golden calf (Exodus 32:28), an unforgiving and ruthless act that never fails to jar modern sensibilities.

It's often a marvel when an author can take a well-known story and make it seem fresh. Cecil B. DeMille 1956 movie has heightened modern-day familiarity to the point of farce (although Hurston's original audience was certainly aware of DeMille's first film version, released in 1923). Nevertheless, Hurston manages to make this timeworn story new again for modern readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant examination of race, class, politics, conviction
This is a brilliant novel.Hurston retells the story of Moses through the lens of black history and of her own day; the reader can see Hitler in Pharoah, the ghettos of Europe and America in Goshen.The Hebrews of Hurston's tale are European Jews under National Socialism and American Blacks under slavery.Moses becomes in this context a figure of contemporary hope.His being suggests that it's possible for someone to lead those in need of leadership out of trouble and to change the world.(By the way, if you get a chance, take a look at J Kristeva's book "Revolution in Poetic Language.")

Hurston's novel is particularly relevent in today's world of spin politics and soundbites.To read this book is to better understand the news you're stuck with being fed. ... Read more

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